Ex-husband and survivors benefits

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Mlm
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Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Mlm »

I was just contacted by my ex-husbands sister and informed that he passed away. We were married for more than ten years and either of us remarried. I will reach social security full retirement age in March of 2021 but had planned on waiting until 68 or 70 to file.

I assume that I could file for a survivor benefit now but I don't know if a death certificate would be required by SS. He passed away overseas where he had been living for many years.

His sister told me that the only copy of a will that they have been able to find so far is the one we had filed when we were married where we named each other. I find it hard to imagine that he never rewrote his will but who knows. He owned property in the US and the last I knew also owned a condo overseas. I hope he at least had named beneficiaries on his investments. I don't want to assume the role of executor

Is a death certificate required by Social Security?
How would the legal representative obtain a death certificate for someone who died overseas?
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by sailaway »

Mlm wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:22 pm
How would the legal representative obtain a death certificate for someone who died overseas?
This sounds like a quagmire. Take good care of yourself.

The details would depend on the country, so your first point of contact should be that country's consulate in the US.
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celia
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by celia »

Contact the jurisdiction where he died.

If you don’t want his assets but had kids together, you could disclaim any assets so they go to the kids. In that case, you might re-consider being his executor, unless you fully trust the person who was listed as the back-up executor.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

from the horse's mouth:
You can apply for benefits by calling our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visiting your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to apply.

You can help by being ready to:

Provide any needed documents; and
Answer the questions listed below.

Documents you may need to provide

We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

Proof of the worker's death;
Birth certificate or other proof of birth;
Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [More Info];
U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968;
For disability benefits, the two forms (SSA-3368 and SSA-827) that describe your medical condition and authorize disclosure of information to us;
W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year;
Final divorce decree, if applying as a surviving divorced spouse; and
Marriage certificate

What we will ask you

Your name and Social Security number;
Your name at birth (if different);
The worker's name, gender, social security number, date of birth, date of death, and place of death;
Your date of birth and place of birth (State or foreign country);
Whether a public or religious record was made of your birth before age 5;
Your citizenship status;
Whether you have used any other Social Security number;
The State or foreign country of the worker's fixed permanent residence at the time of death;
Whether you or anyone else has ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf. (If so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied.);
Whether the worker ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income. (If so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied.);
Whether you became unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time within the past 14 months. (If "Yes," we will also ask you the date you became unable to work);
Whether the worker was unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time during the 14 months before his or her death. (If "Yes," we will also ask you the date he or she became unable to work.);
Whether you or the worker were ever in the active military service before 1968 and, if so, the dates of service and whether you receive or are eligible to receive a pension from a military or Federal civilian agency;
Whether you or the worker worked for the railroad industry;
Whether you or the worker ever earned social security credits under another country's social security system;
Whether you qualified for or expect to receive a pension or annuity based on your own employment with the Federal government of the United States or one of its States or local subdivisions;
The names, dates of birth (or age) and Social Security numbers (if known) of your or the worker's former spouses;
The dates and locations of your marriages, and for marriages that have ended, how, when, and where they ended;
The dates and locations of the worker's marriages, and for marriages that have ended, how, when, and where they ended;
The amount of the worker's earnings in the year of death and the preceding year;
Whether the worker had earnings in all years since 1978;
The amount of your earnings for this year, last year and next year;
Whether the worker had a parent who was dependent on the worker for ½ of his or her support at the time of the worker's death or at the time the worker became disabled;
Whether you were living with the worker at the time of death;
The month you want your benefits to begin; and
If you are within 3 months of age 65, whether you want to enroll in Medical Insurance (Part B of Medicare).

Depending on the information you provide, we may need to ask other questions.

Note:

You also should bring along your checkbook or other papers that show your account number at a bank, credit union or other financial institution so you can sign up for Direct Deposit, and avoid worries about lost or stolen checks and mail delays.
Related Information

source: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-10.html
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Carl53
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Carl53 »

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/ifyou.html
We should be notified as soon as possible when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.

In most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to us. You should give the funeral home the deceased person’s Social Security number if you want them to make the report.
If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 8:00 am – 5:30 pm. Monday through Friday.
Edit: a-pineapple provided a most detailed response while I was distracted by a Lou Dobbs commentary.
eagleeyes
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by eagleeyes »

Carl53 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:54 pm https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/ifyou.html
We should be notified as soon as possible when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.

In most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to us. You should give the funeral home the deceased person’s Social Security number if you want them to make the report.
If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call <a href="tel:1-800-772-1213">1-800-772-1213</a> (TTY <a href="tel:1-800-325-0778">1-800-325-0778</a>). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 8:00 am – 5:30 pm. Monday through Friday.
Edit: a-pineapple provided a most detailed response while I was distracted by a Lou Dobbs commentary.
Who doesn’t get distracted by Louis Dobbs?
RetiredAL
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by RetiredAL »

celia wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:28 pm Contact the jurisdiction where he died.

If you don’t want his assets but had kids together, you could disclaim any assets so they go to the kids. In that case, you might re-consider being his executor, unless you fully trust the person who was listed as the back-up executor.
When MIL died in Spain, the US Consulate in Madrid issued the Death Certificate.
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Mlm
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Mlm »

celia wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:28 pm Contact the jurisdiction where he died.

If you don’t want his assets but had kids together, you could disclaim any assets so they go to the kids. In that case, you might re-consider being his executor, unless you fully trust the person who was listed as the back-up executor.
Thanks Celia. I know the country where he died but not the city. We never had children together but he did have children from a previous marriage. I don't have a copy of our will that was filed during our marriage. I guess if I am the executor that someone would contact me. I am more concerned if SS requires a death certificate to claim survivors benefits.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by ResearchMed »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:45 pm from the horse's mouth:
You can apply for benefits by calling our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visiting your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to apply.

You can help by being ready to:

Provide any needed documents; and
Answer the questions listed below.

Documents you may need to provide

We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

Proof of the worker's death;
Birth certificate or other proof of birth;
Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [More Info];
U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968;
For disability benefits, the two forms (SSA-3368 and SSA-827) that describe your medical condition and authorize disclosure of information to us;
W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year;
Final divorce decree, if applying as a surviving divorced spouse; and
Marriage certificate

What we will ask you

Your name and Social Security number;
Your name at birth (if different);
The worker's name, gender, social security number, date of birth, date of death, and place of death;
Your date of birth and place of birth (State or foreign country);
Whether a public or religious record was made of your birth before age 5;
Your citizenship status;
Whether you have used any other Social Security number;
The State or foreign country of the worker's fixed permanent residence at the time of death;
Whether you or anyone else has ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf. (If so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied.);
Whether the worker ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income. (If so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied.);
Whether you became unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time within the past 14 months. (If "Yes," we will also ask you the date you became unable to work);
Whether the worker was unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time during the 14 months before his or her death. (If "Yes," we will also ask you the date he or she became unable to work.);
Whether you or the worker were ever in the active military service before 1968 and, if so, the dates of service and whether you receive or are eligible to receive a pension from a military or Federal civilian agency;
Whether you or the worker worked for the railroad industry;
Whether you or the worker ever earned social security credits under another country's social security system;
Whether you qualified for or expect to receive a pension or annuity based on your own employment with the Federal government of the United States or one of its States or local subdivisions;
The names, dates of birth (or age) and Social Security numbers (if known) of your or the worker's former spouses;
The dates and locations of your marriages, and for marriages that have ended, how, when, and where they ended;
The dates and locations of the worker's marriages, and for marriages that have ended, how, when, and where they ended;
The amount of the worker's earnings in the year of death and the preceding year;
Whether the worker had earnings in all years since 1978;
The amount of your earnings for this year, last year and next year;
Whether the worker had a parent who was dependent on the worker for ½ of his or her support at the time of the worker's death or at the time the worker became disabled;
Whether you were living with the worker at the time of death;
The month you want your benefits to begin; and
If you are within 3 months of age 65, whether you want to enroll in Medical Insurance (Part B of Medicare).

Depending on the information you provide, we may need to ask other questions.

Note:

You also should bring along your checkbook or other papers that show your account number at a bank, credit union or other financial institution so you can sign up for Direct Deposit, and avoid worries about lost or stolen checks and mail delays.
Related Information

source: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-10.html
I didn't think all of that information was required for someone who was divorced.

If the couple did not remain on very good terms, then much of this information wouldn't be likely to be known by the surviving ex-spouse, especially if they divorced some time ago.

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terran
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by terran »

I don't think you'll be able to file for his benefit while you continue to let yours grow if that's what you had in mind. It seems that those who reached FRA last year were the last ones who could do that: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retir ... gy-is.html

If his benefit is larger than yours you might be better off claiming at FRA instead of waiting though as I don't think spousal benefits grow by not claiming like your own benefit would. You should get more definitive information on that though, as I'm not sure about that.
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Eagle33
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Eagle33 »

terran wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:37 pm I don't think you'll be able to file for his benefit while you continue to let yours grow if that's what you had in mind. It seems that those who reached FRA last year were the last ones who could do that: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retir ... gy-is.html

If his benefit is larger than yours you might be better off claiming at FRA instead of waiting though as I don't think spousal benefits grow by not claiming like your own benefit would. You should get more definitive information on that though, as I'm not sure about that.
The Kiplinger article is about restricted SPOUSAL benefits, not SURVIVOR benefits OP is asking about.

OP, call SS and ask them what survivor benefits are available to you from your ex. Only tell them you have heard that he had died but don't know the details of when. They will know if they have received a death certificate or not. Stay out of the estate details, unless you for some reason are appointed executor.
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celia
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by celia »

Eagle33 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:13 pm Stay out of the estate details, unless you for some reason are appointed executor.
Eagle33, How do you think OP would be appointed the executor unless ***she*** requests it? Courts don’t just declare someone an executor without the person saying they are willing and able to perform the duties.
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Luckywon »

Mlm wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:22 pm He owned property in the US and the last I knew also owned a condo overseas.
If his property in the U.S. did not have a transfer on death deed, I'd assume limited probate would have to be opened in the state where it is located (unless perhaps the value of the property was below the threshold for that state). As to his other assets, I'd assume they would be subject to the estate administration laws of the jurisdiction in which he was residing. The terms of the Will he created with you may or may not govern what happens. For example, if Shariah Law governed the jurisdiction in which he resided and died, the distribution of his estate would probably not occur per the terms of the Will he created with you.
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

terran wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:37 pm I don't think you'll be able to file for his benefit while you continue to let yours grow if that's what you had in mind. It seems that those who reached FRA last year were the last ones who could do that: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retir ... gy-is.html
A restricted application for survivor benefits (including as a surviving ex-spouse) is still available. Deemed filing does not apply to survivor benefits.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204035
B. Policy for deemed filing

[...]

Deemed filing does not apply to survivor benefits. For example, when a claimant becomes entitled to widow(er)’s benefits (WIB), he or she is not deemed to file for RIB. The claimant may restrict the WIB application and delay filing for RIB.
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terran
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by terran »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:12 am
terran wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:37 pm I don't think you'll be able to file for his benefit while you continue to let yours grow if that's what you had in mind. It seems that those who reached FRA last year were the last ones who could do that: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retir ... gy-is.html
A restricted application for survivor benefits (including as a surviving ex-spouse) is still available. Deemed filing does not apply to survivor benefits.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204035
B. Policy for deemed filing

[...]

Deemed filing does not apply to survivor benefits. For example, when a claimant becomes entitled to widow(er)’s benefits (WIB), he or she is not deemed to file for RIB. The claimant may restrict the WIB application and delay filing for RIB.
Thanks for clearing that up!
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Colorado Guy »

Mlm wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:22 pm I assume that I could file for a survivor benefit now but I don't know if a death certificate would be required by SS. He passed away overseas where he had been living for many years.
...
Is a death certificate required by Social Security?
...
I am more concerned if SS requires a death certificate to claim survivors benefits.
In short, yes. In my case, the ex-spouse died about 10 years ago in the US, and Social Security did not have a copy of the death certificate, so they requested a certified or original copy. I would expect that would remain the same requirement regardless of where the death occurred.

To get the straight scoop, I called the SS office when I didn't have any documentation. They were very helpful in explaining what was required, and they "started" the application from that date. Once I gathered the necessary documents (including death certificate, marriage and divorce certified copies), I sent those in, which were returned a few weeks later.
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Mlm
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by Mlm »

UPDATE: I spoke to Social Security and they informed me that I would not need a death certificate. The only thing they wanted was the original divorce papers that referenced both date of marriage and date of divorce

I sent it in and my first payment has arrived in my checking account today. SS made the process super easy and fast.
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by megabad »

Thanks for updating us, OP, glad it worked out. For posterity I would emphasize what others mentioned above, in this case, it is absolutely imperative that surviving divorced spouse call or meet in person (if possible post COVID) with social security and be very clear on desired claiming strategy. If you claim as a divorced spouse, it is my understanding that you are deemed filing. If you claim as a survivor, you are not. In my experience, it would be very easy for a typical social security staffer to mess something like this up in an unfixable way.
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Re: Ex-husband and survivors benefits

Post by egrets »

celia wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:32 pm
Eagle33 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:13 pm Stay out of the estate details, unless you for some reason are appointed executor.
Eagle33, How do you think OP would be appointed the executor unless ***she*** requests it? Courts don’t just declare someone an executor without the person saying they are willing and able to perform the duties.
The will may name an executor. I think that's what Eagle meant. Of course, the OP can refuse.
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