How Do You Apply for Survivors Benefits?

How Do You Apply for Survivors Benefits?

Department of Health Form

If your spouse or ex-spouse has recently passed away, then the last thing you’ll want to do is worry about your finances in your time of mourning. However, if your spouse or ex-spouse was responsible for a part of your family’s income, then you will want to find out if you are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

Survivor benefits can go a long way in helping to make up for the income you and your family lose due to the death of your spouse or ex-spouse. If you are eligible, then you’ll need to know how to apply for survivors benefits.

Applying for Social Security Survivors Benefits

The first thing you should be aware of is that you can’t apply for Social Security survivors benefits online. If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, you can call toll free or contact your local Social Security office. The following are the steps that you should take in order to apply for survivors benefits:

Inform the Social Security Administration about the deceased  

You need to inform the Social Security Administration of the death in question. This is especially true if the deceased was collecting retirement benefits since those will need to stop. The process will also be a lot easier if the deceased was collecting Social Security benefits since these can just be changed to survivors benefits.

You can report a death or apply for survivors benefits by either calling the Social Security Administration or by visiting your local Social Security office. You can schedule an appointment for visit without one. You’ll need to provide some documentation as well as answer some questions. However, if the deceased was not collecting Social Security benefits, you’ll be required to provide even more documentation.

Providing the proper documentation

If the deceased was not already collecting Social Security benefits, then the process of applying for survivors benefits is a little more involved. You will need to collect a number of different documents that are certified by the agencies that issued them. These documents include:

  • A death certificate for the deceased in question. 
  • Your social security number as well as the social security number of the deceased.
  • The social security numbers of any dependent children you have with the deceased.
  • The birth certificates of any dependent children you have with the deceased.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Your marriage certificate or divorce papers (you can apply for benefits even if you are divorced depending on various factors). 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
  • The most recent W-2 form or federal tax return of the deceased.
  • Your bank and your account number (to allow for direct deposits of the survivors benefits if your application is approved). 

Dealing with financial issues can be stressful when you’re mourning the death of a loved one, but the sooner you apply for Social Security survivors benefits, the quicker you’ll begin receiving them. For a free consultation, call Social Security Disability Advocates 24/7 at (602) 952-3200 today.

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