Does a widow automatically receive husband's social security payment after husband's death?  ?

My mother and father are both in their 80's and retired. My mother was receiving a monthly social security payment and my father was receiving a slightly higher payment. My father just passed away and social security has been notified of his death. I have read that social security will automatically stop my mother's monthly social security payment and that she will then just receive my father's higher amount. Does anyone have any real world experience with this? I work out of state and it will be difficult for me to get her to a local social security office.  

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  • Judith
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Only if they are already receiving a wife's benefit and are over full retirement age when the spouse dies - then the conversion from wife's/husband's benefits to widow/widower benefits is automatic as is the $255 one-time death benefit once SS receives notice of death from the funeral home.  

    Otherwise a widow/widower must file an application for surviving spouse's benefits.  In other words, if they aren't receiving as a spouse and/or they are under full retirement age.  They would be receiving off of their own account in that case and would have to opt to receive additional benefits as a widow/widower.

    If a person receives off of their own account they will ALWAYS receive off of their own account.  Example:  A woman receives $500 on her own account.  She becomes entitled to a widow's benefit of $1250.  She will continue to receive off of her own account plus $750 as a widow.  It grinds me to no end when people who are not employed by social security, tell the public that they will be switched over to just the widow's benefit.  The amount is correct but they continue to draw off their own account and get the difference as a spouse.

    Normally the funeral home sends a notice of death to social security which is then input.  Sometimes errors are made and that's when we read about a person's spouse or child not reporting the death and receiving their benefits fraudulently.  It happens but not often.

    I was a social security claims rep for 32 yrs.

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  • Edwena
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    We have actually asked that question at the social security office a few years back. The question was how do they know. If turns out that the funeral home plays a role in notifying everyone of a death. Every week the social security office receives a list/notices of who has died. Social security checks the list, makes the necessary adjustments in its payments per the law. The law is as you understand it. The payment stops with the death of the recipient, but the survivor is adjusted up to the higher of the 2 benefits. You can call social security.

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    • Judith
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      receiving a spouse's benefit.  Another factor is whether or not they already draw off of their own account.

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  • 1 month ago

    No! You have to apply for it.

    • Judith
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Not always.  If you read my answer you will find that oftentimes it IS automatic.

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  • 1 month ago

    Its never automatic when your on the receiving end of getting money from the government. you need to report to the IRS office and file some papers. Pretty sure you will need the medical death records, and both social security numbers and proof of residence, about 10 forms of ID

    All the usual BS. Arrive about 30 min before the doors open, that will cut your standing in line wait time down by hours. If the doors open at, 7: and your 2nd in line, you might get out by noon.

    Sorry about your dad

    • Judith
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Not so Alex.  Please read my answer.  If the surviving spouse does have to file a claim they need only the marriage certificate.  Death is reported by the funeral home.  That's it.

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