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Claiming Death Benefit From Social Security

Documents You May Need To Provide

Social Security Survivor Benefits: Claiming based on a deceased spouse or ex-spouse

We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

  • A birth certificate or other proof of birth
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
  • U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968
  • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for last year and
  • A death certificate for the deceased worker.


We accept photocopies of W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate. We will return the documents to you.

Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.

The Basics About Survivors Benefits

. If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of those taxes you pay are for survivors benefits. Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings.

. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.

For more information, please read .

What Am I Entitled To And How Can I Claim

The survivors pension and the indirect pension are payable to surviving family members whose amount is calculated based on the pension to which the deceased would have been entitled, or based on the pension provided to the deceased, applying the following percentages:

  • 60%, spouse only
  • 80%, spouse and 1 child or 2 children but no spouse
  • 100% spouse and 2 or more children or 3 or more children
  • 15% for every other entitled relative, other than spouse, children and grandchildren.

From 1 September 1995, the amount of the survivor’s pension is reduced if they have other sources of income, as indicated in the following table:

Amount of income

Percentage reduction

Income greater than 3 times the annual minimum wage, calculated as equivalent to 13 times the monthly amount in force as of 1 January

pension amount is reduced by 25%

Income greater than 4 times the annual minimum wage, calculated as equivalent to 13 times the monthly amount in force as of 1 January

pension amount is reduced by 40%

Income greater than 5 times the annual minimum wage, calculated as equivalent to 13 times the monthly amount in force as of 1 January

pension amount is reduced by 50%

The claim may be submitted only electronically as described on this webpage.

The claim also serves as a request for pension accrued and not collected prior to death.

There are also two other types of services:

The INAIL annuity is calculated based on annual salary, according to the following percentages:

Read Also: Santa Clara County Retirement Benefits

Claiming Survivors Benefits At 60

Rodney is age 58 and plans to retire at age 60. His primary insurance amount at age 66 and 6 months is $2,200. His wife Helen passed away last year at age 56 with a PIA of $1,800. At age 60, Rodney applies to receive a reduced monthly survivors benefit of $1,287. He continues to receive the survivors benefits until age 70 when he can collect the maximum based on his own earnings record, which has grown to $2,816 per month.

What Conditions Do I Need To Meet

How to submit SSS Death Benefit Claim online?

Entitlement to the survivors pension commences the day following the death of the pensioner, subject to the requirements indicated above. The widow or widower who then remarries is entitled only to a one-time payment .

For survivors to be entitled to the indirect pension, the deceased worker, not retired, must have accrued the following minimum qualifying conditions to obtain the ordinary incapacity benefit or the disability pension :

  • at least 15 years of contributions in any given period,

or, alternatively,

  • at least 5 years of contributions , of which at least 3 were paid in the course of the 5 years prior to the date of death.

Requirements for entitlement to the INAIL life annuity and duration of benefits for children:

  • no requirements are imposed on the surviving spouse up to death or re-marriage
  • the amount due to all children up to the age of 18
  • up to the age of 21, the following requirements must be met: secondary school attendance, being dependent and not having a paid job
  • up to the age of 26, the following requirements must be met: degree course attendance, being dependent and not having a paid job
  • adults unable to work, for as long as the incapacity lasts
  • adults who are fully incapacitated, until death.

Read Also: Are Social Security Benefits Taxed After Age 66

Who Is Entitled To Survivors Benefits From Social Security

How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies SSA.gov/benefits/survivors

Social Security is a key source of financial security to widowed spouses. About 7.8 million individuals aged 60 and older receive Social Security benefits based, at least in part, on a deceased spouses work record. These surviving spouse beneficiaries are overwhelmingly women.

These beneficiaries include 3.6 million people who are eligible only as widowed spouses. Another 4.2 million who are entitled to benefits based on their own work records but whose deceased spouses benefit amounts were higher than their own, will receive higher benefits as individuals .

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Also Check: At& t Employee Benefits Center

Can You Collect A Siblings Social Security When They Pass Away

No, siblings cannot receive the $255 death benefit if their brother or sister passes away. According to Social Security, the only other family members who are eligible are stepchildren, grandchildren, adopted children, and parents who were being cared for by the deceased individual. Typically the benefit will go to a spouse or a child of the deceased.

Who Are Qualified To Receive The Death Benefit Of The Deceased Sss Member

Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit

The Death Benefit is given to the following beneficiary in order of preferential hierarchy listed below:

  • Primarybeneficiary/beneficiaries identified to be:
  • The legitimate, dependent spouse for so long as he/she does not remarry, and
  • Dependent legitimate, legitimated, illegitimate, adopted children of the deceased member who are below 21 years of age, and/or
  • Dependent legitimate, legitimated, illegitimate, adopted children of the deceased member who are over 21 years of age but are incapacitated or unable to support themselves due to physical or mental disability that is congenital in nature or was acquired while they were still minors.
  • In the absence of any qualified primary beneficiary , the dependent parents of the deceased member can receive the Death Benefit. They are considered to be secondary beneficiaries.
  • In the absence of a dependent parent, any other person duly nominated as the designated beneficiary by the diseased member in his/her SSS record will be considered as the beneficiary.
  • In the absence of any designated beneficiary, the Death Benefit will be paid to the legal heirs of the deceased member as identified with the law of succession under the Family Code of the Philippines.

Read Also: Taxes On Social Security Benefits Calculator

To Wait Or Not To Wait

Consider taking benefits earlier if . . .

  • You are no longer working and cant make ends meet without your benefits.
  • You are in poor health and dont expect the surviving member of the household to make it to average life expectancy.
  • You are the lower-earning spouse, and your higher-earning spouse can wait to file for a higher benefit.

Consider waiting to take benefits if . . .

  • You are still working and make enough to impact the taxability of your benefits.
  • Either you or your spouse are in good health and expect to exceed average life expectancy.
  • You are the higher-earning spouse and want to be sure your surviving spouse receives the highest possible benefit.

Recommended Reading: National Institute Of General Medical Sciences

Whats The Net Worth Limit To Be Eligible For Survivors Pension Benefits

From December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022, the net worth limit to be eligible for Survivors Pension benefits is $138,489.

On October 18, 2018, we changed the way we assess net worth to make the pension entitlement rules clearer. Net worth includes your assets and annual income. When you apply for Survivors Pension benefits, youll need to report all of your assets and income.

Note: If your childs net worth is more than the net worth limit, we dont consider them to be a dependent when we determine your pension.

Read our definitions below:

Read Also: How Does Workers’ Compensation Affect Social Security Retirement Benefits

How Much Will The Beneficiary Receive

After identifying who were qualified to receive the death benefit, the next question that came to mind is: What is the cash benefit amount that the beneficiary will receive?

As mentioned in the SSS Guidebook on Death, the primary beneficiary will receive a monthly pension that has the highest amount of either:

  • P300 + 20% + 2% or
  • P1000 for members with less than 10 CYS P1200 for members with at least 10 CYS or P2,400 if the member had at least 20 CYS.
  • The lump sum amount given to the primary beneficiary for deceased members who contributed less than 36 months is either:

  • Monthly Pension x Number of monthly contributions paid prior to semester of death or
  • 12 x Monthly Pension whichever is the higher amount.
  • Depending on how many contributions the deceased member has made to the SSS, the lump sum amount given to the secondary beneficiary is either:

  • 36 x Monthly Pension, for members who had paid 36 months or more before the semester of death or
  • for deceased members who have made contributions to the SSS for less than 36 months, the higher amount of:
  • Monthly Pension x No. of Monthly Contributions paid or
  • 12 x Monthly pension
  • Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary

    Can A Spouse Claim Social Security Benefits After Death

    You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.

    Read Also: Can Non Citizens Get Social Security Benefits

    Are Benefits Paid Retroactively

    No one wants to interrupt their grieving process to fill out forms and wrangle with bureaucracy. Unfortunately, though, the Social Security Administration does not make retroactive payments after a period longer than six months. If you wait more than six months to claim Social Security death benefits, you will not be entitled to back payment for the time over six months. So it pays to make your benefit claim appointment promptly.

    Also Check: How To Freeze Your Credit

    Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby

    The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.

    Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:

    • Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
    • Open a bank account in their name
    • Get medical coverage for them
    • Apply for government services for them

    Recommended Reading: Tax Benefits For Home Based Business

    Sss Death Benefits: Who Are Qualified To Claim And How

    When my sister died, one of the questions that popped into my mind was: What happens to the pension that my sister was looking forward to upon retirement, in the event of her death while still an active, duly employed SSS member?

    I found out that the Social Security System of the Philippines is duly mandated by law to provide the qualified beneficiary Death Benefits as specified under Section 13 of the aforementioned Social Security Law.

    The Death Benefit of the SSS is given to the primary beneficiary of the deceased member either in the form or a monthly cash pension or a lump sum cash amount.

    Monthly Cash Pension

    A monthly cash pension is given to the surviving beneficiary if the member was able to pay 36 straight monthly contributions before the semester of death.

    Lump Sum

    If the deceased member paid less than 36 straight monthly contributions to the fund, a lump sum cash amount is given to the primary beneficiary . A lump sum cash amount is also given to the identified secondary beneficiaries in the absence of qualified primary beneficiaries of the deceased member.

    Do We Pay Death Benefits

    If Your Spouse Dies, Can You Collect Their Social Security Benefits?

    A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if they were living with the deceased. If living apart, they were receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceaseds record.

    If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceaseds record in the month of death.

    Also Check: Quest Diagnostics Employee Benefits 2021

    A Vanguard Advisor Can Help

    If you’re struggling with making your best Social Security decision, we can help. You’ll also get a custom financial plan, ongoing portfolio management, investment coaching, and real-time goal trackingall at a low cost.

    *The amount of your monthly benefits also increases for each month you wait between age 62 and your FRA, but the rate is lower than 8% per year and varies depending on your age.

    All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

    Advice services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company.

    The services provided to clients who elect to receive ongoing advice will vary based upon the amount of assets in a portfolio. Please review the Form CRS and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Brochure for important details about the service, including its asset-based service levels and fee breakpoints.

    Documents You Need To Apply

    Please select the benefit you will be applying for from the list below to see what information and documents you may need when you apply:

    If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay applying for Social Security benefits.

    In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If we can’t verify your information online, we can still help you get the information you need.

    Mailing Your Documents

    If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.

    Don’t Miss: How To Apply Social Security Retirement Benefits

    Information You Need To Provide

    When you ring, you will need to provide details of the deceased, including:

    • National Insurance number
    • benefits they were getting

    If you want to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment you will need details about:

    • your spouse or civil partner
    • other benefits you are getting
    • your account details

    If you want to make a claim for a Funeral Expenses Payment you will need details about:

    • you, your partner and the deceased
    • benefits you, your partner and surviving relatives are receiving
    • responsibility for the funeral
    • the Funeral Director and bill
    • money to pay for the funeral
    • your account details

    If you want to make a claim for Child Funeral Fund you will need details including:

    your address, date of birth, National Insurance number

    responsibility for the funeral, including payment

    the Funeral Director and bill

    your account details

    Other Things You Need To Know

    SSS Inquiries

    There are limits on how much survivors may earn while they receive benefits.

    Benefits for a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse may be affected by several additional factors:

    • If you remarry before age 60 , you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married.
    • If you remarry after age 60 , you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s Social Security record.
    • However, if your current spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse’s benefits on their record. If that amount is more than your widow’s or widower’s benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.

    • If you receive benefits as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse.
    • In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and allow the other benefit amount to increase.
    • If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefits as a survivor may be affected.

    Read Also: Eligible Age For Social Security Benefits

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