Why Can't My Mom Continue Receiving My Deceased Father's Social Security Benefits?

Feb 8 2017 - 10:30am

My father died in 2010 and was getting his SS benefits, but after he died my mom wasn't able to continue getting those benefits. Why? My father worked all his life to get access to those dollars for himself and my mom and now she gets none of it. How is that right, can that be reversed and where has that money gone?


If your mother is full retirement age or older, she should be eligible for the higher of her own benefit rate or your father's benefit rate (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf).

Social Security is insurance against loss of income due to disability, death or old age. It doesn't have individual retirement accounts, like an IRA or 401K. Social Security taxes go into a general fund, which is then used to pay benefits to all eligible beneficiaries. Payment of Social Security taxes does not come with any guarantee of ever receiving benefits. Some people receive tens of thousands of dollars more in benefits than they ever contributed in taxes, while others pay Social Security taxes all of their lives only to end up dying before ever qualifying for benefits. Congress passed the Social Security Act into law in 1935, and only Congress has the power to amend the program.

Best, Jerry