Like any working person, an employed father has taxes deducted from his earnings. Some of those taxes pay for "Social Security Insurance." Should that father die before his children become adults, the federal government picks up some of the financial loss to the dependent children by paying them monthly benefits from the Insurance fund. For the children to receive Social Security benefits, the Social Security Insurance must be requested, and the children's ages must be verified.
Unmarried children 16 years of age and younger are eligible for a share of the insurance benefits. Under some circumstances, children up to 19 years of age can continue to receive Social Security Survivors Benefits, provided they are full-time students. Disabled minor or adult children can receive the benefits at any age if the disability occurred before they reached the age of 22. They will continue to receive benefits for the duration of the disability.
When to Apply
Apply for survivor's benefits as soon as a copy of the father's death certificate is available. The funeral home can provide it, or ask Social Security to help you obtain it. You will need the deceased father's Social Security Number and the SSN of each dependent child. Each child's birth record will be required as well. The deceased father's most recent income tax statement and W-2 form must be provided, along with your bank routing number so the SSA can electronically deposit the beneficiary check.
How to Apply
Call the Social Security Administration's toll-free number (1-800-772-1213) to apply for benefits. Have available all or as much as possible of the information mentioned in the preceding section. If an agent is available to open a claim, your call will be forwarded to the available agent. If not, you will be asked to set a time when a representative can call you back and start the claim process. After you've spoken with the agent and started the claim, she will give you a contact name at your local SSA office, asking that you mail the original copies of birth certificates, etc., to that location. You have the option of taking the information to the SSA office; however, you still must leave it. It will be mailed to you when the claim is completed. Keep a copy or a scan of everything you send or take to the SSA office.
Monthly Benefit Amount
The SSA will determine the amount of monthly benefits by calculating a percentage of what the deceased father earned during his work life. Beneficiaries generally receive 75 percent of those earnings. Should there be other minor children fathered by the deceased through a former union, those children will also share the benefits. Between four and five weeks after filing a claim for Social Security Benefits, start checking the bank account you provided to the SSA. The benefits will likely arrive weeks ahead of the claim approval notification..
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