Collecting Survivors’ Benefits on Behalf of Missing Family Members

Many families rely upon the income of a single family member as the family’s sole or primary source of income. In many cases, the unexpected death of the primary income earner in the family can leave the surviving spouse and children in a struggle to make ends meet.

Fortunately, certain surviving spouses and children are eligible to receive monthly survivors’ social security benefits following the death of a family member. This is the case for a decedent who is already eligible to receive social security benefits, allowing the surviving family members to continue to receive the decedent’s social security benefits for a prescribed period of time after the decedent’s death. This may be the case even for young families where the decedent died and left behind young children.

In some cases, this is easier said than done. In order to collect the Social Security Benefits for a Deceased Spouse, child, or parent, the Social Security Administration will require proof of death. However, in instances where a family member has gone missing prior to the statutory period for the presumption of death but the body has not been found—therefore, the family member will not be able to provide proof of death—an eligible family member cannot collect those social security benefits on behalf of the decedent. In these instances, failure to provide satisfactory proof of death to the Social Security Administration may prevent a surviving family member from receiving the survivors’ benefits necessary for the family to get by.

The monthly survivors’ benefits discussed here are in addition to a one-time death payment that a surviving spouse or child can receive if claimed within two years of the date of death.

If you are experiencing problems with providing proof of death of your family member and you need help with obtaining survivors’ social security benefits, or if you have general questions regarding what benefits you and your family are eligible to receive, please contact us today.