Social Security Benefits and Passing Them to Unclaimed Children​

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Social Security has survivor benefits available for families when the individual parent or both parents die and are unable to provide the children or spouse with money through wages. Sometimes the child is not a claimed member of the family or did not have a paternity test performed for the biological connection, then Social Security will require additional information or verification of identity.

Survivors’ Insurance

When the primary wage earner dies, the spouse, children and even parents may become eligible for benefits with Social Security through the survivors’ insurance. Insurance provides monetary support to the specific parties through the earnings the deceased accrued through his or her life with the company before passing away. The family member or members may have protection through this program when another person dies such as a spouse, parent or child. Before benefits are available, the person must earn enough and work long enough for benefits to exist and pass on to the appropriate party.

Earning Credit

The amount in Social Security benefits a person may pass on through the survivors’ insurance program depends on the credits earned. These accrue up to four a year the person works. The credit and monetary amount in 2018 specifies that one credit earned equals up to $1320 through wages or self-employment income per person. Four credits in the single year equal $5280 for the individual. For the person to pass on income depends on the age of the individual at the time of death. The minimum is ten years or 40 credits for eligibility with these Social Security benefits. However, if the person is younger he or she may earn fewer credits to pass on wages.

The Passing of Benefits

When the survivors of a deceased worker require the benefits, it is possible to pass on the monetary support even if the person did not work the full ten or more years. The spouse or children may still acquire the money for as little as six credits or one and a half years of employment. This must usually occur within the last three years before the person dies. However, there are different situations that may arise which change these circumstances with the Social Security Administration. It is important to contact someone within the offices to determine if the process will change.

The Death of a Family Member

When a person dies, it is generally the funeral home that contacts the Social Security Administration about the matter. However, when a person does not have a valid claim to a parent such as when the father or mother does not claim him or her, the Social Security offices may require proof that the person does have a connection to the deceased. It is then the child or adult child of the deceased may need contact the Administration themselves to start the process of receiving survivor’s benefits based on the credits accrued over the employment history. The individual may need to make an appointment and speak to a Social Security representative to assist with the connection to the deceased parent. It is important to have as much proof as necessary to show the agent that the connection exists such as a paternity test or a birth certificate.

He or she will need to notify the Administration of the death and the specific circumstances. This is usually a personal visit to the offices with the death certificate and proof of a connection to the person such as a blood test. Then, the office may need to investigate the matter further before any additional process starts.

Pursuing the Survivor’s Benefits

In the event that the parent does not claim the child as his or hers, the survivor may need to acquire proof through the mother or documentation. Without this proof, the Administration may have little option in helping the person receive survivor’s benefits. If the parent did not work enough to earn credits, this could also affect a possible claim. When there is little documentation initially, the person may need to hire a lawyer to acquire the paperwork or to initiate the claim with the Social Security Administration.

Legal Support for Survivor’s Benefits

Hiring a lawyer is often necessary to understand a situation and progress through it with the necessary knowledge. If the child does not have a birth certificate, a paternity test or other proof, the lawyer could help him or her seek the proof for a valid claim.

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