The end of a person’s life does not necessarily mean the end of his Social Security benefits. Depending on factors such as income and dependents, Social Security checks are still issued to someone else even after the original recipient has passed away.
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According to the Social Security Administration website, if you work and pay Social Security, some of those taxes go toward survivor benefits, meaning your surviving spouse, children, and even parents may qualify for payments based on your earnings. .
Likewise, you and your family may be eligible for benefits based on the income of someone else who has died — as long as the deceased worked long enough to qualify for benefits.
If you have no surviving relatives or surviving dependents, the benefits simply stop.
When someone dies, Social Security must be notified immediately. This is usually handled by the funeral home, which sends out a form called Death Certificate from the undertaker.
If it doesn’t, you’ll need to call the SSA — you won’t be able to report a death or apply for survivor benefits online. If you need to report a death or request survivor benefits, you can call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday, Monday through Friday.
You must provide the citizen service number of the deceased with the application. If you die, your next of kin must provide your citizen service number. The estate executor can also call Social Security, CNBC reports.
Here are some things to remember for those who receive benefits on a spouse or parent’s record, according to the SSA:
Social Security automatically turns any monthly benefits received into survivor benefits after it receives the report of death.
The agency may be able to automatically pay a special lump-sum death benefit.
One thing to keep in mind is that no Social Security benefits are due for the month of one’s death.
“Any benefit paid after the month of the person’s death must be repaid,” Peggy Sherman, a certified financial planner and principal advisor at Briaud Financial Advisors in College Station, Texas, told CNBC.
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Meanwhile, if your spouse or eligible dependent already received money based on your record, that benefit is automatically converted to survivor benefits when the government receives notice of your death.
If the surviving spouse has already reached his own full retirement age, he can receive the full benefit from his deceased spouse. You can claim a reduced benefit as early as age 60 — or age 50 if you’re incapacitated — which is a few years earlier than the standard earliest claim age of 62.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What Happens to Social Security When You Die?