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What Happens to Your Social Security Spousal Benefit if Your Spouse Passes Away?

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Everyone married to a qualified worker is entitled to spousal benefits, even if the spouse has never worked. These checks play a vital role in the financial security of millions of Americans, but they are forever linked to the worker’s benefit.

When a worker passes away, he or she will no longer receive retirement benefits, and his or her spouse’s Social Security benefits will also cease. However, these benefits will be replaced by an alternative income stream that could generate even more monthly income.

What happens to Social Security if your spouse passes away?

The SSA must be notified of your spouse’s death in order to suspend their benefits. Most of the time, you’ll simply give the funeral home your spouse’s Social Security number and they’ll alert the government. However, you can also reach out to the SSA directly. Are you experiencing shoulder pain while sleeping? Side Sleepers can help you get better sleep. Check out our reviews.

Once the death is notified, the Social Security Administration will automatically change your spouse’s spousal benefit to a survivors benefit. However, if you used to claim Social Security on your spouse’s work record, you’ll need to apply for survivor benefits to see if it pays better than the checks you’re currently receiving.

What Are Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Survivors of deceased workers can receive Social Security survivors benefits. These benefits are available to spouses, dependents, parents, and potentially ex-spouses of deceased workers. The amount of survivors benefits a person can receive may be greater than the amount of spousal benefits a person qualified for in the past, but this is not always the case.

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The maximum amount of spousal benefits a worker can receive under Social Security is up to half of a worker’s PIA (Primary Insurance Allowance). PIA is the amount of benefits a worker is entitled to if they delay their benefits until they reach their FRA (full retirement age). FRA stands for full retirement age, and it ranges from 66 to 67 depending on your birth year. PIA isn’t always equal to your actual benefit. For example, if you signed up before your FRA or after your FRA, you’ll get smaller or bigger checks. However, that won’t affect a spouse’s maximum benefit.

Unlike survivor’s benefits, which are based on the deceased worker’s benefit amount, which can be up to 100%, survivors benefits are based on the actual benefit received. For example, if your spouse started claiming Social Security right away at age 62, they would receive a lower monthly benefit, which would reduce your survivors benefit as well.

Your claiming age and if you are looking after the worker’s child under the age of 16 also have an impact on your take home pay. Here’s a closer look at what you could receive:

Age: 100% at the time of application Age range: 60 to FRA Age range: 50 to 59 Disability: 71.5%-99% Child care: 75%-75% of deceased worker’s benefit amount

It’s important to note that this may not be the only benefit your family receives. For example, other family members, such as the deceased worker’s children, may also be eligible for survivors benefits. This could provide additional income to your family. Get in touch with your Social Security Administration to find out more about survivors benefits for your family.

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What happens if you remarry?

Your age at the time you remarry will determine whether you can continue to receive survivors benefits. If you marry before the age of 60, you cannot continue to claim survivors benefits. However, if you marry at 60 or later, you can continue to claim on your deceased spouse’s record if that’s the best option for you.

However, if your new spouse applies for Social Security and your spousal benefit is greater than your survivors benefit on their work record, the SSA will transfer you back to the survivor’s benefit. You cannot receive both a survivor’s and spousal benefits concurrently.

The best way to get answers to your benefit questions is to get in touch with the SSA directly by phone. Alternatively, you can schedule an in-person meeting at a local SSA office.

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