Social Security Survivor Benefits in a Divorce Situation

In a divorce situation where one spouse dies, there could potentially be 2 survivor benefits paid. It is important to designate who you want to manage the money for your minor children if you do not want your ex-spouse to be that person.

Where there are children under the age of 16, the surviving spouse AND the kids would be entitled to separate benefits. If the spouse is under age 60 then he/she would be entitled to 75% and the kids would be entitled to 75%. A “Representative Payee” could be appointed for the kids that could be a different person than the surviving spouse. The Representative Payee can receive and manage the funds being paid to kids. The potential Representative Payee would have to apply to social security to become appointed as the official representative payee and they would also have to go to a face to face meeting at the local social security office to become approved. The surviving spouse could also apply. The ultimate decision rests with the social security office. Therefore, I would want a clear provision stating my client’s intent if this situation were to occur somewhere in his will or trust