TN 3 (09-17)
GN 02301.055 Evidence Needed to Release Title II Underpayment Due Deceased Beneficiary
A. Evidence needed to release an underpayment due a deceased beneficiary
We may need proof of the following:
death of the underpaid beneficiary, potential claimant, or other person;
relationship to the deceased;
the claimant’s qualification as legal representative of the deceased beneficiary’s estate.
B. When we need proof of death
If proof of the beneficiary’s death was not submitted previously, or is not annotated to our systems, we require proof of their death. Proof is required regardless of the amount of the underpayment.
We do not require proof of death of potential claimants in a higher or same order of priority before payment of the underpayment, unless there is conflicting evidence that the claimant may be alive.
We require proof of death of other persons if it is needed to establish the claimant’s relationship to the deceased beneficiary (for example, to establish that a grandchild meets the definition of a child of the deceased beneficiary under GN 00306.235). For more information, see GN 02301.055D.
NOTE: Before issuing a death underpayment, please check the Numident to determine if the potential recipient is deceased.
For information on preferred proofs of death, see GN 00304.005.
C. When we need proof of claimant’s relationship to the beneficiary
We will pay an underpayment of three months’ monthly benefit payable (MBP) or less to the surviving spouse, child or parent based on that claimant's allegation without additional proof of relationship unless there is evidence that they are not entitled to the underpayment.
For underpayments of more than three months’ MBP, we need proof of the claimant’s relationship to the beneficiary if it was not previously developed.
For policy on proof of a marital relationship, see subchapter GN 00305.000.
For policy on use of the Numident for proof of a natural legitimate parent-child relationship, see GN 00306.010.
For more information about establishing a relationship as a surviving spouse, child, or parent, see GN 02301.055F in this section.
NOTE: For policy explaining use of the Numident for basic identification purposes, see GN 00203.020.
D. When we need proof of disability
A grandchild or step-grandchild of a deceased beneficiary may qualify as a child under Title II, and for an underpayment due a deceased beneficiary, if they meet the requirements in GN 00306.235. Some of those requirements involve the disability or death of the grandchild’s or step-grandchild’s parents, or the disability of the deceased beneficiary. If a grandchild or step-grandchild seeks to qualify for the underpayment based on another person’s disability, we need proof of disability. Similarly, as explained in GN 02301.055B in this section, if the grandchild or step-grandchild seeks to qualify based on another person’s death, we need proof of their death.
If the grandchild or step-grandchild does not qualify as a child under GN 00306.235, they may qualify for the underpayment as a legal representative of the estate under GN 02301.035 if no one else is higher on the priority list in GN 02301.030.
E. When we need proof of the claimant’s status as legal representative of the estate
When the claimant seeks to qualify for receipt of the underpayment as the legal representative of the deceased beneficiary’s estate, we need evidence showing the claimant is qualified to be the legal representative. For a list of ways a claimant can qualify as a legal representative, and the evidence needed to establish legal representative status, see GN 02301.035.
F. What documentation is needed for proof of relationship
1. Surviving spouse
To establish a surviving spouse relationship, follow the policy in RS 00207.001A.1.a. and GN 00305.005 through GN 00305.180. An individual qualifies as a surviving spouse if they meet the requirements in RS 00207.001A.1.a.1 for a legal spouse, putative spouse, or deemed spouse.
An individual also qualifies as a surviving spouse if they meet one of the requirements listed in RS 00207.001A.1.a.2. through RS 00207.001A.1.a.9.
An estranged (but not divorced) surviving spouse may also qualify as a surviving spouse. For policy on estranged surviving spouse relationships, see RS 00207.006F.
For proof of a ceremonial marriage, see RS 00202.070, GN 00305.005, and GN 00305.020 through GN 00305.030. For common-law marriages, see GN 00305.060 through GN 00305.065. For other types of marriage, see GN 00305.055, GN 00305.085, and GN 00305.090.
NOTE: Corroborating statements made by both the spouse and the deceased may be accepted as proof of marriage. See RS 00202.070.
To establish a child relationship, follow the policy in GN 00306.001. Absent contrary evidence, a birth or baptismal certificate with the names of the alleged parents entered in the proper place on the certificate is enough to establish a person’s status as a child.
We do not require proof of age or dependency to pay an underpayment.
NOTE: Use the child’s enumeration at birth (EAB) Numident as proof of a child relationship if there is no question about natural legitimate status. For policy when the file raises no question about natural legitimate parent-child relationship, see GN 00306.010D.
To establish a parent relationship, follow the policy in RS 00209.001C.
NOTE: We do not require proof of one-half support to pay an underpayment. The parent only needs to establish his or her relationship to the deceased.