This is what occurs to social safety advantages when somebody dies
Marcus Lindstrom | iStock | Getty Images
When a loved one who is receiving Social Security benefits passes away, you may wonder how the government knows they can no longer send the monthly money.
Or maybe there is a surviving spouse or loved one who has relied on this income and is wondering if a payment can continue.
While social security rules can be complicated, the bottom line is that the deceased’s benefits end at death. How they get benefits – or whether you qualify – depends on a number of factors for survivors.
First, it is important that the social security authority be notified as soon as possible after the person dies.
In most cases, funeral homes will notify the government. There is a form these companies can use to report death.
“The person who serves as the executor [of the estate] or the surviving spouse can also call Social Security, “said certified financial planner Peggy Sherman, a senior advisor at Briaud Financial Advisors in College Station, Texas.
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There are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, a person is not due for any social security benefits for the month of their death.
“Any benefit paid after the month the person died must be reimbursed,” Sherman said.
For social security, each payment received corresponds to the previous month’s benefits. So if a person dies in January, the check for that month – which is paid in February – must be returned upon receipt. If payment is made by direct deposit, the bank holding the account should be notified so that they can return the services sent after the person died.
It’s no surprise that using someone else’s services after their death is a federal crime, whether or not the death was reported. If the Social Security Agency is notified that there may be fraud, the allegation will be reviewed and may warrant a criminal investigation. To combat duplication, the agency is comparing records with other government agencies to identify unreported deaths.
Regarding Benefits Available to Survivors: If a spouse or qualified loved one has already received money based on the deceased’s records, the benefit will automatically be converted into survivor benefits when the government is notified of the death, Sherman said.
“In all other cases, the surviving spouse must call Social Security and schedule an appointment to claim survivor benefits,” Sherman said. “You can’t do this online.”
When the widow or widower reaches their own full retirement age, they can receive their deceased spouse’s full benefit, Sherman said. You can apply for a benefit reduction as early as the age of 60, in contrast to the earliest standard age of 62 years.
If the survivor is entitled to social security at their own discretion, they can switch to their own benefit at any time between the ages of 62 and 70 if their own payment were higher.
A former spouse of the deceased may also be able to claim benefits if they meet certain qualifications.
Benefits may also be available for underage children of a deceased person, as well as for a surviving spouse who takes care of the children.
Finally, after the death of a Social Security beneficiary, survivors typically receive a flat-rate payment of $ 255.