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Essential Facts on Survivor Benefits


The death of an immediate family member or relative can be tragic. This can be more devastating if the victim is the one who earns a living for the family. Due to the sudden demise of the income earner, the remaining members of the family may not have enough to sustain their daily needs.

Realizing the gravity of losing someone to death, the federal government had tasked the Social Security Administration to undertake the survivor benefits programs to provide financial assistance to the surviving members of the victim. Since its inception, the remaining members of the dead employee’s family have managed to survive through the tough times.

As an employee of their company, employers automatically take away social security taxes from the monthly salary of their personnel. By doing so, the employee receives credits for the program. To become eligible for survivor benefits, an employee must accumulate 40 credits, which is equivalent to 10 years of service.

Additional benefits can be acquired by their children, spouse, or parents if the member suddenly dies after accumulating six credits.

Who is eligible to receive survivor benefits?

  • Widow, widower, or former spouse, married with the deceased for a minimum of ten years; 65 years old if born prior to 1940; age 60 if born after 1940; 50 and above if handicapped; and at any age if rearing the employee’s single children.

  • A child less than 16 years of age; less than 18 if disabled; less than 19 if entered as a full time elementary or secondary student; at any age if handicapped prior to reaching the age of 22

  • In some cases, stepchildren or adopted children, dependent parents over 62 years old

The Amount of Benefits

The amount of benefits is often determined by the average lifetime income of the deceased. Thus, if the departed had huge earnings during their lifetime, the beneficiaries would likewise receive huge benefits. You can log in to http://www.ssa.gov to find out the cost of the benefit or get in touch with LA County survivor benefits attorneys.

How to Apply For Survivor Benefits

If you intend to apply for survivor benefits, do it right away. The reason for this is that the proceeds are handed out at the start of application date and not before the death of the employee.

When claiming for benefits, the beneficiaries should prepare original or authenticated copies of the following:

  1. SSN of the claimant and the departed’s as well
  2. Death or funeral certificate
  3. Marriage certificate
  4. Petitioner’s certificate of birth and the deceased as well
  5. Divorce papers
  6. federal tax return or W-2 forms  of the departed
  7. bank account where the money will be deposited

Choosing the right lawyer

Applying for survivor benefits claims can be time consuming and complicated for an average individual. This is where the importance of social security attorneys comes in. When choosing a lawyer, make sure to look for one who is well versed with the rules of the SSA as well as the requirements in applying for survivor benefits.


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