63 thoughts on “The Importance of Social Security Survivors Benefits


      • Took me 3 years to get approved. An at toe that specializes in Disability is absolutely necessary, however no need to get one until after your first denial. Yes, I said first denial because you will more than likely be denied a few times before getting approved, if ever. Only 40% of people who apply get approved. Do a lot of research to prepare yourself for the hearing if you get that far. It’s really helpful to know the process backwards and forwards. Good luck!!!

        • Do you think that 40% get approved because they are actually disabled and the rest of the folks are looking for a free ride?

          • The law was written so that if there are jobs you can do that exist in significant numbers in the national economy you are not considered disabled. That is the law as written by Congress. It is not like a comp payment simply you cannot work your last job. If there is any job you can do based on your experience and education, you may not qualify. Congress believed if you can work, you should. Sadly, most people apply that rule to someone worse off than they are (e.g. the poor). If you are middle class you get different rules apparently.

      • lawyers normally do NOT get involved until the admin law judge hearing date is set!

        my ssdi lawyer of 4 yrs. QUIT me during the 2nd claim process.

        i represented myself and WON saving me $6,000+ lawyer would have gotten.

        so it can be done, but this was drawn out to 5 hellish years and 3 drawers full of redundant ssdi/medical records! grrrr.

    • Hi Lesly! Please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Our representatives will guide you and provide the assistant needed to complete the application process. You can help us, if you’re prepared and ready to provide the information we need to process your claim. To learn more, visit our Disability Planner. We hope this help.

  2. I am under unemployment now. Could you please help me how to get benefit fro my child who is in Grade 9?

    • You can’t get SS for your child unless the child is disabled or if you are disabled and receiving SSDI not SSI. The other way would be if the child or children’s father received SSDI then your 9 year-old would be eligible to receive benefits from the biological father providing he never signed away his parental rights. Also you wouldn’t be not be eligible for Transitional assistance because you are receiving unemployment benefits you should be able too get foodstamps though. Also child support is an option, hope this information provided was a help to you.

  3. Not sure about the death benefit and how to apply for it. Who gets the benefit. Sure would help in paying end of life bills.

  4. I’m not sure I understand why if my husband and I have been married for 40years and we always had a combined income Ssdi stopped sending me 1099 for 2016. This prevents us from doing our income taxes. Yes he is in Lowell Mass because medical is cheaper than nh. And with Alzheimer’s he threw away the 1099 forms anyway. Now I need a lawyer for this guardianship.

    • contact local ss office promptly!

      you should have received 1099 regardless.

      need for medical decisions as well as for general/selling things, etc.

    • Hi Sandra. It sounds like your husband will need help managing his Social Security benefits. If you or another relative are interested in applying to become your husband’s Representative Payee, you will need to contact your local office for a face-to-face interview. As a representative payee, you will be able to talk with us and have access to your husband’s records. To include copies of your husband’s Form 1099. In the future, it will make it easier for you to update his account information. We understand how inconvenient this may be, but we hope that you understand our role in protecting everyone’s personal information. If you have specific questions, or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to speak to one of our representatives. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  5. Myvhusband of over 41 years died suddenly July 27, 2016. I applied as soon as I got back from his funeral. I finally started receiving his benefits today. Ten months after I filed. They screwed up my backpay and I am being told now that they refigured what I am suppose to receive… Problem? They don’t know how soon I will be receiving the corrected backpay amount. Losing your spouse after so many years is hard enough to deal with and move on from. NOW THIS. I am on disability and have to live with other people in their homes because I can’t afford on just what I am receiving to pay a deposit and first months rent, utility deposits and moving costs without the backpay. I had an apartment waiting for me and I may have lost it because of the ineptness of Social Security. I have no idea when I will be able to move into my own place. Needless to say I am very upset right now. Tell me please… HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KOVE FORWARD IN MY LIFE. I am 61 years old. Without my beloved husband and without a place of my own.

    • that’s why we need to have a paper trail showing the date, time, people talked to, and EXACTLY what was said with each person; FILE SAFELY AWAY to refer back to.

      they should give you BACK PAY promptly.

  6. I know, its so hard to get what you are entitled to. And what LITTLE you get isn’t enough to make ends meet. I have to go to food banks to eat…that is just not right.

  7. My husband passed away 5yrs ago age 41 leaving me then with a 10 and 12yr old children I thank god for survivor benefits but now they are 16 and just turned 18 I am forced to look for fulltime work which for the last 4yrs been taking and dealing with depression both kids endured and on top of that my dad passed suddenly at 61 of heart attack. Going on 3yrs im only 44 and just started therapy because I feel like a ton of bricks landed on me my husband was the bread winner and i tried to work but my kids needed me and still do im scared no life insurance just ss which like I said I am grateful but scared

  8. My husband passed. And as far as I know he never remarried and neither did I. He was in another state and Vita statistics. Will not give me a death certificate to apply for anything. He was also in the army. What can I do about this.

    • Hi, Vivian. In most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to Social Security and we use this completed information from the funeral home as proof of death. Please contact us to discuss possible survivor’s benefits. To schedule an appointment or to speak to one of our agents, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or you can contact your local office directly. Thanks.

  9. I have been through the SSDI process for myself, my husband, 2 friends and now my daughter. They were all approved but one who and she did not follow the paralegals instructions and was deceptive.All used the same paralegal I did. I am not an expert, just a regular person, but here is my advise.

    There are a lot of deadlines, the need for medical records, etc. is vital to your case. Continue to see doctors until your case is settled.
    My advice, find a lawyer or a paralegal to do the work for you. The only time you actually need an attorney is if after you have your hearing with the Judge you are turned down. A that point a paralegal can not represent you in a law suit, it must be an Attorney.

    For most this is a long stressful process from start to finish, I would not do it without legal representation to
    order, copy and file and the paperwork for me. Every case is different, so don’t think your case will move along like anyone else that you may know who went through the process. We all have different medical back grounds, some have more records to establish their case or issues you may not know about that helped them to get through the process quicker, or may have slowed them down. Your case is your case, you can’t depend on how much time it took others, or how much money they may have gotten awarded in the end. If you want to know an approximate amount of what you may be awarded, ask for your Social Security Statement. It will have a place on there that will tell what your income may be if you have become disabled and cannot work.
    You will only receive what you paid into the system during the years you have worked.

    Realize you cannot work during the process whatsoever. Realize there is always the possibility that someone from the social security office may check up on you to see if you are as disabled as you claim to be. In other words, don’t say you can’t walk, or lift a certain amount of weight, etc. and then be seen carrying 30 lbs of groceries into you house, mowing your lawn or doing anything to go against doctors orders or your listed limitations. Sometimes, people can report you and they will send someone to document you if you are living in such a way that goes against what you have claimed you cannot do. I have not seen that happen, but It does happen.
    Just be prepared for a very long process and if it turns out to be shorter than average, it will be a delight and an unexpected blessing. My daughter has gone through her first year of waiting, and updating all her records. she was just turned down the second time and is waiting to see the judge. The wait time may be as long as another 18 months.
    Please, please, please, to relieve or hold down the stress levels, find legal representation!! Look for someone who will file for you from the beginning to end.
    The gather of paper work, medical records and other things you will need to support your case can be long and tedious and frustrating. A legal rep. will have be able to request all of that on your behalf. Most medical personnel will respond to a request from a legal representative much faster a patients request.

    Some attorneys let you do all the work, and they aren’t worth the effort of even talking to . Find someone who will go through the process from the beginning to end. Choose legal representation that will not charge you until you have won your case. By law, no legal representation can charge you more than 25% of what you get paid when your case is settled. My paralegal earned only 18 dollars after two years of representing a client who had a very short working record and who had only a small amount of money owed to her. That is the kind of person who you need representing you. The more expensive a lawyer is means nothing. The way the system works is already established by laws etc. A high priced attorney cannot change that and it does not mean you will get through the system faster.

    Find a legal rep who you are comfortable with, and check their reputation. One that is understanding but will also be honest with you, even if the truth hurts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but don’t be hateful with them. Most will understand your frustrations and that you are not feeling well and may have an off day, but they can’t change the system either and taking out your frustrations on them will not change and thing or work in your favor.

    When I first filed I made an appointment with an attorney and went to the address I was given. The man was working in a motel and came to the door in a dirty T shirt and baggy shorts and his room smelled like sweat and as if 10 hookers had been working there recently. Not what I was looking for in my legal representation!
    I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes to you.

  10. I’m already receiving survivor benefits and my daughter just turned 18 in September and she started receiving her own check because she was still in school and she was supposed to go and get a direct express card and she never did will her money come to me or will we lose it forever

    • Hi Rose. Now that your daughter is 18 years old, we will send payments directly to her. However, the law requires Social Security beneficiaries, to receive their payments electronically. If your daughter has a bank account, she can create a my Social Security account to start direct deposit. Also, she can consider the Direct Express® debit card as another viable option. Your daughter can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and one of our agents will assist her. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. See “How Do I Sign Up to Receive an Electronic Payment? For more information.

  11. I hope you can help me. My father in law is elderly and I am trying to help him. My mother is law died May 2nd. Today, her Social Security payment showed up in the checking account. I tried to call Social Security, but they wouldn’t answer my questions because they don’t accept POA’s ( I am my father in laws Financial POA). Anyways, My question is: IS he going to get his SS benefit and my mother in laws benefit? Are they taking away his benefit ( which is higher and he needs that money) and just giving him her smaller amount? My father is law is very very worried and upset because he can’t call the Social Security Office ( he is elderly and hard of hearing) and they won’t talk to me. He is afraid because if he only gets her benefit it’s less than 1/3 of their total benefits so he would lose everything ( the house, etc). ANY advice? Any answers? I have spent hours reading the website and it’s not helping.

    • Take him to the local SS office. Also, you can’t meddle in his business unless you are appointed his representative payee, so ask about that.

    • We are sorry for your loss Angela, and regret to hear of the inconveniences you experienced while trying to help out. Your father-in-law is only allowed to receive one payment. He will likely continue to receive his payment, as we generally pay the highest benefit amount from either record. The payment received this month for your mother-in-law, must be returned. The law specifies, that if a deceased person was receiving Social Security benefits, the payment received for the month of death or any later months must be returned. If the person dies in May, you must return the benefit paid in June. Please contact the bank and ask them to return the payment. If your father-in-law needs help managing his Social Security benefits, you can apply to become his Representative Payee. A representative payee is different than having “Power of Attorney” when conducting business with Social Security. As a representative payee, it will be easier for you in the future, to update information in your father-in-law’s record. We hope you understand our role in protecting everyone’s personal information. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 to discuss any possibility for survivor’s benefits and to schedule an appointment with the local office if you want to become your father-in-law’s representative payee. Our agents are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thank you.

  12. If I would like to begin collecting my social security at age 64, should I apply several months before the age of 64?

  13. Currently I’m receiving SS income of $18k and retirement $22k for retirement., total $40k/yearly. I’m planning to get a part time job to help out my family in need. How much money maximum can I earned and still keep my SS check ? In advance, thank you very for your advice.

  14. My ex spouse is two years younger than me. My full retirement age is 66 & 4 months, his is 66 & 8 months. If I collect on my own work record at full retirement age, I will receive about $830/month. When my ex reaches his full retirement age, I was told that his ss would be added to mine for a monthly payment of $1,300. But, would I have to wait until I am 68 years old to collect on his ss and receive the full amount from his ss? Thank you

    • Your benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. To see if you meet all the requirements go to “If You Are Divorced”. Thanks!

  15. Hello. If my ex spouse decides to take his social security at age 62, will that be the end of me being able to collect on his at my full retirement age? If he takes his early, I will not be able to survive financially since my work record will not pay out very much. Thank you

    • Hi Tinamar. If you meet all other factors of eligibility and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you may be eligible to receive Divorced Spouse benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. Your benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit amount, only if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age.

  16. My husband, who was the primary wage earner, died 2 years ago. I just turned 62 and want to apply for my own retirement benefits now, which are much lower than my Survivor Benefits, and wait a few more years before applying for Survivor Benefits. Is this possible? I am getting conflicting statements from SSA regarding whether I can do this.

    • Thank you for your question. If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60(age 50 or over if you are disabled). At this time, if you are also eligible for retirement benefits on your own record (but haven’t applied yet), you may have an additional option. You can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other (higher) benefit at a later date. If you work while you receive Social Security benefits, and you make more than the yearly limit, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount. Please read our publication: How Work Affects Your Benefits for more information. To make an appointment or to speak to one of our representatives, call our toll free number 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or contact your local Social Security office directly.

  17. The Gov Pension Offset (GPO) provision will disqualify you from receiving your spouses Soc Sec (SSA) Survivors Benefit if your non-Soc Sec pension is two-thirds or more than your spouses SSA Survivors Benefit. The GPO most likely will effect the pension earned by law enforcement, firemen/women, other public safety professionals, and teachers, even if these professionals earned 40 SSA credits at some other time in their lives. As of Dec 2013, 81% of those negatively affected by GPO were WOMEN! (Soc Sec: The Gov Pension Offset (GPO), Congressional Research Service, April 23, 2014). There are many exemptions/exceptions to GPO, but SSA staff will not help you with these exemptions/exceptions (SSA POMS: “Claim Specialists are to provide information, and avoid giving advice to claimants”, SSA: Improvements to Claims Process Could Help People Make Better Informed Decisions about Retirement Benefits, Report to the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate, September 2016).

    SSA retirement/survivor benefits are not welfare, but an annuity. SSA has been implementing provisions to disqualify/deny benefits based on “need”, instead of contributions, i.e. GPO, Windfall Elimination Provision, and taxation of SSA benefits.

  18. I would like to no how long it takes to get back pay of one month i have recived two checks they said they would send it when they figured i hadnt worked in to yrs prior im 64

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