Social Security and Survivor Benefits

By Pete Lane, 8:00 am on

If you help care for aging parents or loved ones, there may be concerns about what happens to Social Security benefits if a spouse passes away. This is especially important for seniors who may be on a fixed income and rely on Social Security benefits for their livelihood. The good news is that Social Security does provide survivor benefits.

As a trusted Centennial home care provider, we know that the topic of finances can be difficult to talk about, especially when it involves discussing the possible loss of a loved one. However, setting aside time as soon as possible to have these conversations can help to ease your loved one’s anxiety about the future, while also giving you a chance to help your loved one properly plan for the road ahead.

Eligibility for Senior Adults

Americans who are older than age 60 are eligible for survivor benefits if a spouse passes away; eligibility begins at age 50 for those who are disabled. Survivor benefits may also be paid by Social Security if the couple was divorced at the time of death, provided that neither spouse has remarried.

The monthly amount your loved one will receive depends on the monthly benefit that his or her spouse was receiving. Those older than age 67 will receive the full amount of a deceased spouse’s monthly Social Security benefit. Those older than age 60 will receive 71½ to 99 percent of the deceased worker’s basic amount.

The surviving spouse will also receive a one time payment of $255 if he or she was living with the deceased family member at the time of his or her death.

Obtaining Benefits

If a family member passes away and you will be helping to care for his or her surviving spouse, notify Social Security of the death immediately so that your loved one can receive all the benefits to which he or she is entitled. Learn about how to apply for these benefits online at the official Social Security website.

Keep in mind that benefits received for a month after the person passes away must be returned to Social Security. For example, if a payment is processed and received in December for a family member who passed away in November, these funds must be returned to Social Security.

Getting Help with Care

If your family has recently experienced the death of an aging parent or loved one and you are helping to care for his or her surviving spouse, know that you are not alone in this journey. Home Care Assistance of Centennial is here to help. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers are available on an hourly or live-in basis and can help cook, clean, and most importantly, provide companionship and support. Call us today at 303-957-3100 for a complimentary, in-home consultation and get the help your family needs and deserves.