Death is an Uncomfortable Topic but Important to Discuss
Death can often be an uncomfortable subject for us to consider — especially when one feels death is still a long way off. However, it is never too early to consider what would happen if death should occur sooner than expected. With this in mind, planning now and being at peace that everything has been put in order is a wise move to make. Pre-planning can especially be beneficial when utilizing Social Security benefits.
Social Securiy – Who Qualifies
Social Security death benefits are accessed through a system of earning “credits”, and the years a person has worked will determine the amount of Social Security he or she may receive. For example, surviving family members would receive Social Security aide based on the amount of credits already accumulated, combined with the age of the deceased. However, no one needs more than 40 credits (approximately 10 years of work) in order to qualify his or her survivors for benefits. As long as the deceased meets the minimum amount of work years necessary to qualify, surviving dependents will receive some level of aide. Of course, living longer will accumulate more credits, and thus, more aide.
Does Social Security Pay for Funeral Expenses?
Though there is a $255 benefit for qualifying survivors, what Social Security will not provide are funds specifically awarded for funeral expenses. This means that the above money cannot be paid to funeral homes or estates for funeral expenses. The funeral wishes of the deceased and/or survivors would inevitably have to be provided by whatever monthly amount the deceased earned through the credits system. There is no separate, designated funeral coverage. Luckily, there is an option available for putting moneys toward funeral arrangements. The Social Security Agency offers a savings system that allows the account holder to set aside as much as $1,500 for future funeral expenses, as long as the account is clearly designated as a funeral or burial expense account. To find out your exact status as an account holder or a survivor, call your Social Security agency at 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security office.
It is Best to Pre-Plan
Social Security is a blessing to many families and dependents in times of need and loss, but making funeral and burial arrangements is never a smooth necessity. Taking action now to determine where loved ones might fall on the Social Security aide scale could save surviving dependents unnecessary emotional burdens. Inquiring as to how many credits one has accumulated can greatly assist he or she in deciding on final wishes. If a candidate finds he or she is low on credits, it would be wise to consider a more affordable funeral and burial option such as burial at sea. Or, likewise, someone may have more than enough credits for the arrangements they desire, but taking the time to plan now may point them toward a more meaningful option, just the same. There is healing in the open air of the sea, and sometimes the cheaper option allows survivors a beautiful farewell to their loved one that no money can buy.