If you're already getting benefits as a wife or husband on your spouses record when he or she dies, in many situations your benifits can be changed to survivors benefits once you have contacted your local SS office. The funeral director will assist by reporting the death on a special form, but you must still apply in person.
*Reminder: If the deceased was receiving social security benefits, any checks which arrive after death will need to be returned to the Social Security Office. If the checks are being direct deposited into a bank account, the bank should be notified.
WHO CAN GET SURVIVORS BENEFITS?
Anyone who has worked and paid social security (FICA) taxes has been earning social security benefits for his or her family. The amount of work needed to pay survivors benefits depends on the workers age at the time of death. It may be as little as 1 1/2 years for a young worker. No one needs more than 10 years.
HERE IS A LIST OF WHO CAN USUALLY GET BENEFITS:
Widows and widowers age 60 and older.
Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceased's children who are under age 16 or disabled.
Divorced wives and husbands age 60 or older if married to the deceased 10 years or more.
Widows, widowers and divorced spouses age 50 and older if they are disabled.
Children up the age of 18.
Children 18-19 if they attend elementary school or high school full time.
Children over age 18, if they became disabled before age 22.
The deceased worker's parents age 62 or older, if they were being supported by the worker.
A SPECIAL ONE-TIME PAYMENT
In addition to the monthly benefits for family members, a one-time payment of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death. If there is none, it can be paid to:
A spouse who is elegible for benefits.
A child or children eligible for benefits.
*THIS PAYMENT WILL NOT BE MADE IF THERE IS NO ELIGIBLE SPOUSE OR CHILD.
Contacts for Social Security: Local Office: 300 Holt Street, Bastrop, LA 71220-9975. (318)281-7143. National 1-800-772-1213 or www.socialsecurity.gov