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Receiving Social Security Survivor Benefits

If a spouse or parent dies, you may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits. This is a guide about receiving Social Security survivor benefits.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 15, 20141 found this helpful

My brother recently died and he has two children. Their mother receives their money now; she is not giving it to them. Can they switch it over to mother or I?

By KC

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February 16, 20140 found this helpful
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Are the kids minors? As a whole the money is intended to support them, not for them to spend on whatever they want. Furthermore, it isn't needed for actual support, how do you know their mother isn't saving it for college? This is something like child support, which is intended to help provide the necessities that a kid needs, not to let them have all kinds of fun with it. Talk to your local Social Security Office and see what they say.

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February 16, 20140 found this helpful
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My children get ss since their father passed away. The money is for their food, their share of rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, dental, eye glasses, class ring, yearbook, clothing, shoes, their share of a overnight trip if we take one, field trips.

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If you look at the check, you will notice it is made to the adult whom they live with. Mine is made out to me, "on behalf of" their name. The money is not to be given to the children to blow. On the other hand, my kids are in high school now, so I am saving part for college, and I do give them each an allowance out of it.

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June 13, 20141 found this helpful

My grandson received benefits after his mother's passing. He is now 18 and graduated from high school at the end of May. Will he get final check in June? He is going to college full time in August. Also will benefits continue since he'll be a full time student?

By Barbara B.

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October 28, 20141 found this helpful
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I can answer this for you if you haven't had an answer by now. Benefits stop after a child graduates from high school. They no longer pay benefits for full time college students.

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February 27, 20140 found this helpful

I am 18 years old with a 18 year old girlfriend. We have a beautiful daughter together that I love with all my heart. But here is the trick, I get a SS check for my father dying while I was still in school.

When my girlfriend gave birth I was forced to drop out to go to work to provide for them, but kept getting my check every month. I know this was wrong, but the check was the only thing getting us by. Now 9 months after I dropped out I have to file taxes for the year of 2013 and I'm worried.

What's the worst that could happen? and what are the steps to making it right? My family can't afford for me to be locked up and I just need advise. Please reply as quickly as possible. Thank you.

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By a.m

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February 27, 20140 found this helpful
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Your best answer would be to talk to your local Social Security Office. My guess is you will be expected to pay all or part of it back.

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February 28, 20140 found this helpful
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I certainly agree that you need to go to your SS office as soon as possible so you will know where you stand.

I would like to add that I applaud you for wanting to do the right thing as I know some people would not take this stand and just wait to see if they were ever "caught".

I do not know how much money you make each month but you may be eligible for some sort of assistance and even a small amount might help.

According to what solution the SS offers you, it may be wise to try and get some legal advise. Go to your local church and see if they can recommend someone to help you.

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I hope they will let you pay it off in small monthly payments.
Good luck and please - go to your SS office and do not take advise from just "anyone".

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June 4, 20110 found this helpful

My husband is wanting to adopt my daughter and she receives Social Security from her father who passed away while I was pregnant. Will she still get her Social Security checks if she takes my husband's last name and does not have her father's last name?

By Courtney P. from Knoxville, TN

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Anonymous
June 6, 20110 found this helpful
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I agree with MCW. Call Social Security or go to the local SS office nearest you to get a correct answer. I am sure your family could use the checks she recieves to help with her expenses but on the heart side instead of practical perhaps you could also keep this next paragraph in mind if your daughter no longer receives benefits after the adoption:

I was legally adopted by my daddy when I was eleven and personally am so thankful for that loving gift and no amount of SS money from my biological father's death (who had died when I was three) would ever have meant as much as to me as my daddy who loved me unconditionally and who loved me enough to give me his name.

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June 6, 20110 found this helpful
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My husband died of cancer in 1986 when my son was 18 months of age. My son received Social Security survivor's benefits until age 18, even though he was adopted by my husband after I remarried. We even got a replacement birth certificate with his "new" last name. Don't know if the rules have changed since then, so it's best to check with your local Social Security office.

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March 4, 20150 found this helpful

My daughter's father died and she receives death benefits. I was wondering if she will still receive them if my new husband adopts her?

By Cyndie from Boone, IA

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March 6, 20150 found this helpful
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Get correct answers at your Social Security office. Very easy to do but may entail a short/long wait - sometimes you can call and make an appointment but still may have a "wait".

I believe that if your daughter is adopted by your present husband her legal status will change and she will no longer be eligible for benefits from her "former/biological" father.

Rules change in all government services so please get your answers from the SS office so you can make an informed choice as to whether this is a good idea. I believe you really need to think about why/reasons you want to do this. Maybe discuss this with a representative of the family services division in your city as there may be other ways to accomplish your "reasons".

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March 22, 20150 found this helpful
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If you are recieving survivor benefits on behalf of a child and your child is adopted by your new husband, your child will continue to be illegible for the same benefits. You'll just need to update their record with the SSA. I have three daughters, whose father passed away. We recieved survivors benefits. I remarried and my current husband legally adopted my daughters. I notified the SSA, we changed their names on record, and we continued to receive benefits until they all turned 18. Hope this helps!

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February 27, 20140 found this helpful

My father passed away when I was in the fourth grade. I'm just now graduating high school and am about to turn 18. I was receiving Social Security, he was also disabled when he died. Can I still receive it for college?

By Caleb from Chickasha, OK

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February 27, 20140 found this helpful
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You'll have to get proof of paternity through family court to get the father's name on the birth certificate. I'm going through it now even though my son's grandmother called right after his father died and they said to just come in. I don't need anything. Good thing when I got his birth certificate without his father's name, I called and figured out how to get it on there or I'd be waiting longer than I already have to. I have a court date next month then I have to make another SS appointment once I have the proof.

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February 28, 20140 found this helpful
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Hi - only the SS office can answer your question.
Be sure to take yours and your dad's SS numbers, as well as a copy of his death certificate.

You may not receive the same benefits but you may be able to get some money for college. Be sure to check with your school's counselor for the kinds of help you may be eligible for.

Good luck and please stay in college if you can.

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January 20, 20140 found this helpful

My father died 3 years ago of cancer at a young age. Am I able to get his Social Security benefits? I am a single mom of two and I am having a hard time making ends meet. This would help me greatly.

By Julia

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January 30, 20140 found this helpful
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Survivor's benefits are for spouses and children under the age of 18. If you are 16 and unmarried, you may be able to draw. Check with your local office.

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May 14, 20140 found this helpful

Could this be fraud or is the law being bent? My husband was previously married and had a child from that marriage. He and I were married a short time after his divorce and had children of our own. His ex did not want their child to know about his dad and had him adopted by another man, someone who had been part of his life the whole time.

My husband, then died 7 months after it was finalized. Because my husband relinquished his rights and all financial obligations, how are they able to claim survivors benifets if the law clearly states my husband had to be the legal guardian of his child and was not?

By Confused -N

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May 14, 20140 found this helpful
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Call your local Social Security Office and talk to them. They are the only ones that know the correct answer. Even if this is correct, it doesn't affect the amount your kids will be getting.

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July 9, 20130 found this helpful

My ex and I were married for over 34 years. Can I get his Social Security although we were not married when he passed away?

By M. T

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July 11, 20130 found this helpful
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I am pretty sure anyone can collect on an ex -dead or alive - if they were married for at least 10 years - - if you are over the age of 65. Social Security has a wonderful website.

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March 22, 20130 found this helpful

How do I go about drawing Social Security for my child when his father died two months before he was born in 2007 and now here it is 2013?

By Ashley L.

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March 24, 20130 found this helpful
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Married or not you need to contact your local Social Security office. They will help you feel out all the paperwork. You need to take Social Security cards and birth certificates for both of you. It would also be very helpful to take the deceased fathers death certificate. You may have to allow a DNA test between child and a living relative of the father. Someone told me married or not you have to do a DNA, but I am not sure on that rumor. Good Luck and I hope this will help!

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December 2, 20120 found this helpful

My son's father recently passed. We were not together and even though he didn't sign the birth certificate and wouldn't give his DNA for child support he was put down as the father and was ordered to pay child support, since he wouldn't fight it. My son is 4 years old. Will he receive a check off his father?

By Gina G

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Anonymous
December 4, 20120 found this helpful
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Receiving Social Security death benefits for your child is federal and not state ordered. Take a copy of the child support order to your local Social Security office and they will help you. They will require you to fill out an application and supply other documents as well but initially showing them the court order should get the ball rolling.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 5, 2017

I have a 16 year old son who receives survivor benefits. He is staying with his grandpa while going to school. I send him money every month to live on. I have been saving money in his savings account since he has been gone, can he sue me for that?

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February 5, 20170 found this helpful
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SS is supposed to go to the person who is raising the child, for the care of that child. If you are not spending it all for his upkeep, then you are in in trouble. But, if you are spending some on his insurance, some to send to him, some for his school expenses. If you are going to be giving him what is in the savings, you are probably ok. They will ask if he is getting proper food, clothing and such provided where he is living. If he isn't, and you are using the money to pay your expenses, they you are in violation.

My friend received money for her daughter, yet her daughter lived with her grandma for school, so that she could be in a better school district (she had been bullied at her local school, so they moved her). She continued to get her daughters check. However, with the money from that check, she paid for all her daughters school expenses, health insurance, school lunches, clothing....her Grandma had no expenses for housing her as the mom was still providing all that-from her ss check. She told the ss office what was going on and due to the fact she could account for every cent of the money and the fact there was a police report of the bullying, they were fine with it.

If

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March 28, 20130 found this helpful

My sister and I were 12 and 17, when our father passed away. That was 16 years ago. He was 41 years old at the time. I'm not sure when he became a US citizen, but it must of been at least 5 years prior to his death. My question is how can I find out if we are now at this day and age eligible to receive his survival benefits if any and if these even apply?

By Liz N.

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March 30, 20130 found this helpful
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If you were 12 and 17 when he died, and that was 16 years ago, I don't believe you are eligible for anything. Up to age 18, or older if to are still a student. That ship has sailed long ago. www.socialsecurity.gov is where I answer all my own questions.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 6, 2017

The mother of my kids died recently in January and we would share custody. I have the kids now and in order to get benefits for the kids they're asking for proof that they live with me. What would or could be considered that they live with me?

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June 6, 20170 found this helpful
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Social Security would need official papers so it would need to be something like Judy said - papers from the school showing their current address. Did the children change schools when they came to live with you? If so, did you apply for transfer papers to the new school? If so, these would also confirm the new address.
Their new address should be the same address that is on your current drivers license. Also, you should also be changing their address with Social Security so that would be something else.
That may be all that you need but I cannot help but wonder why you have waited so long before applying for benefits.
Be sure that you ask any questions you are wondering about while you are completing the paperwork at SS. Such as what kind of records do you have to keep concerning the benefits paid to you for their care and what exactly is considered an expense where the child is concerned. They do have some pamphlets that explain some of these things but you might want to ask anyway.

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November 21, 20140 found this helpful

My father was in the navy during WWII. I am now on Social Security disability. It is difficult to live on a fixed income. I want to know if I, his daughter, can apply for Social Security benefits from my father.

By Sandra

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November 24, 20140 found this helpful
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I hope you have paid a visit to your SS office for answers to your question.

I would like to add;
You can only receive one benefit check so - if - you are eligible under your father's SS then you would have to decide which name/number you will use for benefits. There may be a difference in the amount of money from one "name" to the other.

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May 19, 20140 found this helpful

Can I change my benefits from my mom's name to mine? If so, how do I do it? I'm 17 and my father passed away when I was 12. I have not seen any of the money. I never knew I was getting money until I was informed by a family member.

By Semani L.

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May 21, 20140 found this helpful
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Social Security benefits are awarded to your guardian for your care and should be used to provide the necessities of life until you are 18 years old. This is usually the surviving parent - your mother in this case - and she had no obligation to inform you of the money she receives.

If you move away from home and hence provide all of your own support - then you may be eligible to receive the benefit in your name. Are you prepared to do that? Do you think you can be totally independent by receiving this benefit check?

Pay a visit to your local Social Security office as this is the only place you can obtain the true facts about this money.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 5, 2014

My husband was murdered in 2003. We had two children 11 and 18 months. When I signed up, I only signed up my kids because it seemed in the long run they would receive the most benefits, plus I was only 32 and the likelihood of myself getting remarried was considered.
I did remarry, but divorced in 2012. My daughter has since been dismissed from drawing due to her age. My son is still receiving benefits, but I was wondering, now that I am no longer married, can I still draw the widows benefits? And I do work, so would it be wise?

Thanks in advance!

By Jennifer G

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March 6, 20140 found this helpful
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I receive that benefit as well as my social security. One thing I do know is this you would have had to be married to your deceased husband at least ten years. It just might "pay" you to call your SS office. I hope this helps.

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February 9, 20140 found this helpful

I am 17 yrs old and I am wanting to move out of my parents' house. I was wondering who my check will go to when I do move out?

By Kirstie

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February 10, 20140 found this helpful
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Do you plan on moving out before you are 18? This is something that you and your mother are going to have to make arrangements to go to your local Social Security Office and talk to them about. I might be wrong, but as long as you are a minor the checks go to your parents for your support or if they can afford to put them in savings for college. That being said, I have always heard the checks stop when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

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December 15, 20130 found this helpful

My husband was getting social security and I am on disability. He past away last week. Will I get any of his social security check plus my disability, or just mine?

By Debbie

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December 22, 20130 found this helpful
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It is always best to go in person to your local social security office for this type of information. There may be several scenarios to see what might give you the most money and they can give you this information.

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July 16, 20110 found this helpful

My son's father passed away before my son was born. Can my son still receive survivor benefits even if his father did not sign his birth certificate?

By Monica

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July 18, 20110 found this helpful
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The readers are right, check with you Social Security Ofc. The phone # is on the phone book in the blue pages, or you can get the 800 # online. Most questions can be answered over the phone; in some cases, you can apply over the phone.

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