Did you know this about Soc. Security?

bee0hioOctober 22, 2012

The $255 death benefit for SS recipients.... it is ONLY for the surviving spouse. So DH & I have both paid into SS & I thought there would be this "benefit" for both (paltry as it is, but it is something). No.... whichever one dies first the spouse gets it, but the 2nd one to die... ZERO. If you never married..... ZERO.

I guess it was changed sometime in the Reagan administration.

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Hmm, I thought it was always that way.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 5:24PM
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My Mother started to get US SS after my Dad passed away in 1984 and the weird thing was for a time my oldest brother and sister also collected a small monthly pension - wasn't much about $10 a month for a time. We figured it was something my Dad arranged when they were still children.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Anne, if your sibs weren't 18 yet, it was part of the survivor benefits. Seems like it should've been more than $10, but I don't know what years you mean. If a parent dies, children can collect until they are 18. (Unless they've changed it since my DD was young.)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Unless it changed, kids can collect longer than 18 if they're going to school

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

from the link below...
Q. I know Social Security pays a $255 death benefit to the family of a person who dies. Who exactly is eligible to receive this? And how do you apply?

A. The death benefit is a lump sum, paid upon the death of a person who worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. It goes to a surviving spouse who was living in the person's household at the time of death, or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record.

If there's no eligible spouse, the $255 may go to a child who is eligible for benefits on the person's record in the month of death. No qualifying recipient means no payment. It cannot, for example, go to the funeral home. To apply, call 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office.

I wonder if the child would have to be a minor in order to be eligible for benefits on the deceased person's records.

Here is a link that might be useful: Who Is Eligible to Receive the Social Security Death Benefit?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Neither my aunt (never married) nor my mom (Dad died first) were eligible to receive the death benefit--so yes, I was aware of the 'one time only' per couple thing. It's not like it's a lot of money, you'd think anyone on SS should be eligible. It's a shame.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Yes, chemocurl, the child must be a minor
receiving Disability SS. My Down's syndrome adult uncle was on SSD, so G'ma got the $255 when G'pa died first, then Uncle got it when G'ma died.
(That is, if I understood the SS person correctly.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 7:06PM
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The $255 death benefit is a one-time payment for a surviving spouse. Think of it as cash to help with extra expenses and/or cash to carry over until income sources (SS, Pensions, etc) are transferred, settled, etc.

As to your astonishment at the fact that it's paid to only one person in the marriage - think of the term that is used - "survivor". The surviving spouse is no longer in a marriage.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 7:59PM
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I don't get it; who do you think is surviving when the 2nd person dies? Sure, your children do, but this is for a marriage, hence, "surviving spouse", isn't it?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:48PM
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It's a death benefit--to help with the expenses of death--funeral, medical bills, whatever.

So does the second person of a couple NOT have to be buried? There are just as many expenses, whether it's a spouse handling them or a child or niece or nephew.

And a few $$$ to help while things are being switched? Just how far is $255 going to go toward rent, food, utility bills, etc, if SS takes a month or two to sort things out? Heaven help the spouse who has nothing BUT that $255 to live on.

With as much money as the government tosses at people and causes that don't deserve it, it wouldn't kill them to pay their $255 for each person who dies, to help with the final bills.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Exactly, Azzalea!!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Another thing that drives me bonkers about SS benefits is that if someone is receiving the benefits, but dies any time during the month, the entire month's benefit has to be paid back to the SSA.

My brother, when he was dying of AIDS, received SS Disability benefits, because he was too sick to work. His benefit was deposited automatically into his checking account at the beginning of each month. He died in the afternoon on September 29 (not this year!), and the SSA insisted that the entire amount, to the penny, had to be paid back. To heck with the fact that he was alive for more than 28 days during that month and needed that money for various expenses.

It made no sense to me then, and it makes no sense to me now.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:03PM
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I agree Lindsay. I think there should be a cut off date maybe the 15th or even the 20th. After that date 50% would go back?? Don't think the government will do that but it would be fair.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:12AM
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The $255 is paid only to a surviving spouse (male or female), dependent child (under 18, student or disabled). Been that way since 1981.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:31AM
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I knew that about the survivor benefit, but not so sure about returning the money when someone dies. My mother died on the 24th of the month. I did not have to return any of the money she received that month, but the following payment, I did return This was 15 years ago, and never heard anything about returning money for the month that she died in.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:32AM
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My Mom died on Nov 11, 2009 and we had to return her November payment.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:17AM
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DH's father took out a life insurance policy when he was in the US Army in WWI. DH was nine years old and was beneficiary of this policy when his father died. DH's mother opted for monthly benefits.

DH is now over 70. He would still be receiving a check for $1.69 every month if we had not spent six months persuading the government to cut just one check and pay annually. (We actually asked that it be cancelled, but they couldn't legally do that.)

I wonder how many people are employed overseeing payments that cost more to provide than the amounts provided.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:18AM
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This is a link to the history of the Lump Sum Death Benefit from the Social Security site. It is interesting.

If the amount of $255 that was set in 1954 was indexed for inflation, then the benefit today would be over $2000.00. I feel that the payment should be dropped. It is such a small amount and I would rather use that money to save Social Security as a whole.

Here is a link that might be useful: History of Social Security Lump Sum Benefit

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:55PM
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