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Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

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Latest post Sun, Oct 2 2016 1:40 PM by I Will Survive. 4 replies.
  • Sat, Oct 1 2016 9:43 AM

    Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

    If an insured person dies mid-month, is the surviving spouse, with a child under 16 years of age, eligible for a benefit the month the insured died, or does the benefit start the following month?

    When the child turns 16 years of age, is the benefit payable the following month to the survivng spouse who had the child in their care?

    I'm trying to figure out if I was shorted a month or two by Social Security for a survivor's benefit.  Thank you.

  • Sat, Oct 1 2016 2:54 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, Jan 1 2005
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    Re: Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

    SSA always pays one month behind. Your payment for September, for example, was actually for the month of August. Moreover, SSA does not prorate its benefits.  There is no prorated benefited owed to the "estate" for the month of September if the decedent was receiving SSA retirement or disability beneifts , assuming that the death occurred in September.

    If you are caring for your child (and he or she was the child of the deceased account holder) who is under under the age of 16, you would be eligible for a survivor benefit until the child is 16, unless you earn too much money. (I am assuming that you are under the age of sixty.) If the death occurred in September, then I believe that the SSA benefit payable on your own behalf would be payable for the month of September, but you won't receive it until October (either the second, third or fourth Wednesday of the month), using my example. This payment won't be prorated either.

    Benefits on your own behalf (assuming you qualify), generally will end the month immediately before the child reaches age 16. (You likely will receive this payment during the birth month that your child reaches age 16, since SSA always pays a month behind.) You likely will continue to receive benefits on behalf of your child as a representative payee until he or she is 18 years of age. At age 18, the benefits for the child can be continued if he or she is a full-time high school student, but SSA will pay the child directly, baring some special circumstances (child is mentally incompetent becaue of a severe handicap, etc.) These student benefits will be continued until high school graduation or age 19, whichever occurs first. An exception to this one will apply if the child is deemed incapable of self-support because of a severe mental or physical handicap that prevents gainful employment. 

    I suspect that some of your confusion may be related to the fact that SSA always pays a month behind and because there usually is some lag in the start up of the intial payment which likely was larger than subsequent payments as it likely represented two or three months of benefits.

  • Sat, Oct 1 2016 3:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

    Thank you so much for your reply to my question.  The deceased died January 17, 2009, so it doesn't sound like I would get January until February.  The child turned 16 on June 21, 2016, so do I understand that there would be no benefit for June 2016 even though the child was in my care for the entire month, even though he turned 16 on the 21st of the month?

  • Sun, Oct 2 2016 12:59 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Jan 1 2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,363

    Re: Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

    No benefits on your behalf for June of 2016 because that is the month your child reached his sixteenth birthday. It generally does not matter what day of the month is actually the birhdate. As noted SSA, does not prorate its monthly benefits. In the beginning the full monthly benefit is payable even if the decedent died mid month. In the end, the full monthly benefit generally is not payable. (There is an exception if the birthdate is the 31st of the month, but that exception does not apply in your scenario.)

    However, if your child is still in high school in June of 2018, he will receive a payment for the month of June of 2018 as long as his graduation date is in June of 2018. If his graduation date is in May of 2018 (or earlier), he will not get paid for June because that is the month that he became 18 years of age.  If his graduation date is after June of 2018, he, not you, will get paid until he graduates or becomes 19 years of age, whichever happens first.  That was the way it worked for my son.

    BTW, I did not collect benefits on my own behalf as my earnings disqualified me at the time. I earned much more money than SSA ever would have paid on my behalf. But, I did sit down with SSA and had this all explained to me at the time. Not much has changed since then. It will be a good introduction to "adult life".

    When your child gets closer to his 18th birthday, you likely will be asked to report his HS graduation date and if it is June of 2018, he and the school will have to complete a special form and return it to SSA in order for him to get paid for any month past May of 2018 until his 19th birthday. Most high school guidance counselors are familar with this form and will know what to do. At age 18, SSA considers him and an adult. So put the burden on him to get it done, if and when the time comes.

  • Sun, Oct 2 2016 1:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Social Security Survivor Benefit Payments

    Thank you for the information.  It sounds like I was shorted the month of January 2009.  I will contact Social Security about it.  I did not think that Social Security prorated anything and was not concered about that.  I was only concerned about if I was shorted the first month (January 2009) and the last month (June 2016).  I just got paid and it seemed like I was short the first month, but I was not sure about the last.  I appreciate the information about graduation, because he'll be passed his 18th birthday before he graduates.

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