Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders- Social Security Amounts

Last week, I told you I had called Social Security to check Dad's death had been reported to them. The agent was helpful in answering questions about social security payments that would effect my mother.

Under social security, if your spouse passes away and s/he had a higher social security amount than you, you are entitled to the higher amount, but not in addition to your own.

Dad's social security amount was more than Ma's.  She received her own social security for all the years she worked plus a small pension from her union, Unite Here (formerly ILGWU, International Ladies' Garment Workers Union). Her pension actually made her monthly amount a few dollars more than what Dad received.  I was expecting Ma would be now be getting Dad's social security plus her pension. This was important to know because the amount she receives from social security is used to calculate the amount she pays to the nursing home. If she earns more social security, she pays more to the nursing home in order to keep her Medicaid benefits.

I was surprised to learn her little pension counts as part of her social security benefit and is not a separate payment. Because she had the higher amount, she would not be entitled to Dad's social security.

Clear as mud? I'm not an expert in Social Security benefits. If you have questions, call your local social security office or visit the Social Security website.

1 comment:

  1. My theory is 'they' make it deliberately confusing so we don't know how much they're screwing us. (No, I'm not bitter! Why do you ask?)