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I just got off the phone. The (Heavens, I'm getting old) nice young man I spoke to at Social Security in September called to ask if I had secured an original of the marriage certificate yet, because he had JUST received what he called a "ruling" that would allow Social Security to pay me the one-time benefit I had applied for (before he was able based on their script to tell me about the monthly widow's benefit I could apply for as I approached my 66th birthday).

I wanted to make sure that the one-time benefit wouldn't put a kibosh on the monthly benefit, so I asked. He asked again, as he did in September) if I would still be working at 66 and I said yes. Then he said the lump-sum payment and the monthly widow's benefit stipend were two different things, and I could apply for the monthly benefit when the time came.  I'm wondering whether I should believe that, but I said I'd need at least a week to get the marriage certificate, and that's where we are now. Remember, the one lump-sum payment is the only thing anyone told me about when I made the appointment with Social Security to begin with.

How has this worked for any of you who worked with Social Security as widows and widowers? Is it always this complicated? I know this isn't much of a diary (especially for me) but the whole thing just feels significant enough to warrant this.

Et voila!

A surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255 if they meet certain requirements.

Generally, the lump-sum is paid to the surviving spouse who was living in the same household with the worker when he or she died. If they were living apart, the surviving spouse can still receive the lump-sum if, during the month the worker died, he or she:

    was already receiving benefits on the worker's record; or
    became eligible for benefits upon the worker's death.

If there's no eligible surviving spouse, the lump-sum can be paid to the worker's child (or children) if, during the month the worker died, the child:

    was already receiving benefits on the worker's record; or
    became eligible for benefits upon the worker's death.

Survivors must apply for this payment within two years of the date of death.

That's me, the surviving spouse!

We really ARE more equal now!

Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 09:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Kos Community, and Milk Men And Women.

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