Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - Survivor's Benefits

While informing Social Security my dad had passed away, I also inquired about the Social Security Death Benefit. After the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse/family is entitled to a one time Social Security Death Benefit, of $255. (This paltry amount wouldn't even cover the cost of flowers at the funeral.)

The agent told me, I would have to bring my mother to the local Social Security office so she could apply for the benefit in person. I told her since my mother is in the nursing home and has dementia, she's not able to make decisions regarding finances. She said many families just decide to not bother with the benefit. Tempting to avoid the aggravation except, my mother is entitled to this payment as pitiful as the amount is. She worked many years and paid into Social Security. It's not her fault she lived decades after the retirement age of 65.

I explained to the agent, I was a court appointed guardian and conservator for my mother. As her representative, how would I go about getting the benefit for her? First, I would have to obtain a letter from the nursing home physician, stating my mother's inability to make cognitive decisions. I would have to bring the letter, a copy of Dad's death certificate, their marriage certificate, and the court papers naming me as guardian/conservator to the local office and apply for the benefits. The agent made the appointment, and the earliest date available isn't until 15. October. It's a good thing we're not desperate for the benefit.

1 comment:

  1. I think they count on most people just not bothering. I'm with you! We earned it, we deserve it! You go girl!