Monday, March 21, 2011

Changing to Widow"s Benefit

Gail from Indiana writes:
My father-in-law passed away two weeks ago. What do we need to do to change the social security status to widow for my mother-in-law?

ANSWER: Sorry to hear of your family's loss. If your mother-in-law was receiving spouse benefits on your father-in-law's account, it is a simple matter. Simply call SS toll free at 1-800-772-1213. They may have already been informed by the funeral home. Otherwise, they may need a certified copy of the death certificate. If you need to visit your local SS office, here is a link for the online office locator. If your mother-in-law has a benefit on her own account as well as as a spouse, and if she is under Full Retirement Age (FRA), she may consider deferring the widow's benefit until FRA to maximize the monthly amount. In thatb case she should go to the SS office to discuss her options.

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