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End of Life Doesn’t Always Mean End of Social Security Benefits

Of course, Social Security retirement benefits stop when a beneficiary dies, but surviving spouses, ex-spouses, surviving minor children, surviving disabled adult children, and, sometimes, surviving parents may be able to get benefits even after benefits have stopped for the deceased. Survivor benefits are an important feature of Social Security, starting when widow benefits were added in 1939 and evolving over the years to include other dependents as well. There are, of course, myriad rules which govern who can collect a survivor benefit, when, and for how long, but today nearly 8 million dependents collect benefits from deceased workers. This Yahoo! article by Vance Cariaga discusses how Social Security’s survivor benefit program works and explains what happens to Social Security when you die. Click here to read more.

Also, if you’re unsure about how these basics apply to you, or if you have any questions about your individual situation under Social Security, note that the AMAC Foundation provides a free-to-the-public service to help Americans navigate the complexities of this program. Learn more about it here…

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Comments On This Topic

  1. My husband passed away August 24th. I understand that I will not get to keep his August check but how do I get the death benefit of $255.

    • Colleen

      First I would like to offer you my condolences on the loss of your husband. You are entitled to keep the payment he received in August, as it was actually his payment for July. If you receive a payment in September, that is the one Social Security will take back. If they take back the one he received in August, you will need to contact Social Security and claim it. Use form: You need to contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 to claim the $255 death benefit.

      If you have more questions, please email us directly at
      Sharon L Kleczka RSSA
      National Social Security Advisor/Registered Social Security Analyst
      The AMAC Foundation

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