What Happens to My Benefits After Death?
Few people like to think about death, much less talk about it. However, with the mortality rate being 1:1, avoiding this topic is putting off the inevitable, as well as possibly setting the stage for much work, inconvenience, confusion, and paperwork for those who will be managing your affairs after you pass.
If you are disabled and living with a terminal condition or pass away while receiving disability benefits, making your family aware of their rights regarding your disability benefits before you pass may help eliminate some of the chaos and distress of the situation.
Below are several frequently asked questions individuals ask regarding social security disability benefits and the death of a loved one receiving these benefits:
A surviving spouse, surviving divorced spouse, unmarried child, or dependent parent may be eligible for monthly survivor benefits based on the deceased person’s earnings.
In addition, a one-time lump sum death payment of $255 may be made to a qualifying spouse or child if certain requirements are met. Survivors must apply for this payment within two years of the deceased’s passing.
One key point to note is that survivors are unable to apply for survivor benefits online. To report a death or to apply for survivor benefits, you will need to call or visit your local SS office.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN SOMEONE I KNOW RECEIVING BENEFITS DIES?
When an individual receiving benefits passes away, it is extremely important to notify the SSA (Social Security Administration) as soon as possible. In most cases, the funeral director will report the person’s death to Social Security. Typically, if you provide the funeral director with the deceased’s social security number, they will take care of that for you.
WHAT ARE THE MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE MY DECEASED SPOUSE’S SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?
Typically, you must have been married for one year to receive your spouse’s benefits. However, if you are the parent of your spouse’s child, the one-year rule does not apply. A divorced spouse must have been married to the deceased for ten years to receive their benefits.
CAN CHILDREN AND STUDENTS GET SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?
When a parent receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits and dies, their child may also receive benefits. Under certain circumstances, a stepchild, adopted child or dependent grandchild, or step-grandchild also may qualify to receive their benefits.
For a child to receive benefits, they must be unmarried and:
- Younger than 18
- Between the ages of 18 and 19 and a full-time student at a school grade 12 or below
- Age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
How long does it take for disability to stop after the recipient dies?
Since disability benefits immediately stop upon the recipient’s death, filing for survivor benefits should be done as soon as possible. If this is not done as soon as possible, your monthly assistance and standard of living may suffer.
Social Security disability benefits can be confusing, long-suffering, and an all-around cumbersome process. Couple that with mourning the passing of a loved one, and the process may become even more convoluted and discouraging.
While the Social Security Administration can be helpful in sharing what survivor benefits you may qualify for; they may not have the time to spend with you to help answer all your questions. At Parmele Law Firm, our team members provide the attention you want and the knowledge you need to figure out the next steps and to help put your mind at ease.
Mourning the loss of a loved one is traumatic enough, do not try to navigate the survivor benefits process yourself. You can contact us at 866-889-2570 or chat with us live via our website Parmele Law Firm: guiding you with integrity, competency, and experience.