How long must I Be Married To Collect Benefits When A Spouse Dies?

Often, spousal support for survivors of the deceased can be written in a language that is foreign and the implementation can be even more arduous. Survivor benefits from the deceased in the forms of pension, Social Security, and even investments are designed to help those left behind deal with pending financial loss from a spouse. Though that sounds blunt, the real fact is, most spouses experience eighty percent income loss due to death of a spouse. That means that a family home could be lost, and the family experience living at a level that they are not deserving of.

Time Limits

In terms of Social Security, there are no times limited as to when a spouse is married to a deceased claimant. They must be minimally fifty years of age. Dependent children can receive benefits up to the age of eighteen.

Pensions, 401K plans, and retirement benefits can be relegated to survivors upon death of the recipient. These are generally expedited when there is documentation submitted for a claim. There has to be a record on file that the deceased has named these persons as beneficiaries as well.

Financial Options

It might be wise for the surviving spouse to examine financial options for lump sum payments to be rolled over into personal 401k or retirement benefits, provided they are not needed immediately, as they are taxable income at a higher rate.

Finally, sound financial planning for survivor benefits needs to be done while both persons are in good health mentally and physically. It makes good sense to update wills, power of attorney, and living wills regularly so that there will be a smooth transition when the inevitable occurs.

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