TN 22 (04-09)

RS 00207.005 Widow(er)'s Benefits - Conversion of Benefits - Policy

Citations:

Public Law Section 8010 of P.L. 100-647

A. Mother's or father's benefits to Widow(er)'s Insurance Benefits (WIB)

For a complete discussion of mother or father's to widow(er) benefit conversions, see RS 00208.085. Follow RS 00208.080B if the mother/father is age 60 but not yet full retirement age (FRA) and no longer has a child in care (CIC).

B. Mother's or father's benefits to Disabled Widow(er)’s Benefit (DWB)

1. Policy

A mother or father's benefit will be higher than a widow(er)'s benefit based on disability except:

  • in dual entitlement situations; and

  • when the widow(er)'s benefit is based on a widow(er)'s indexing (WINDEX) primary insurance amount (PIA) (see RS 00615.302B.1. for eligibility requirements).

2. Procedure

If the widow(er) is also receiving a disability insurance benefit (DIB), compare benefits to see if it would be advantageous for the disabled widow(er) to elect WIB benefits before his/her youngest child attains age 16.

Mother or father beneficiaries who allege disability should be advised to file early in the 5-month period preceding their youngest child’s 16th birthday. Otherwise, a mother or father beneficiary should not file a claim for disabled widow(er)’s benefits (DWB) until the youngest child in care is approaching age 16, unless there are months in which a child is not in care.

The SSA-L-1076-EP sent to the mother/father beneficiary 5 months before the youngest child attains age 16 explains the requirements for DWB.

When transmitting the claim for a disability determination, the FO will note “Mother's (or Father's) benefits termination (date)” on the electronic disability collect system (EDCS) or in item 23 on the SSA-831. Detailed EDCS instructions are contained in DI 81010.085. Upon receipt of notice that disability has been established, the program center (PC) will prepare the widow(er)'s award effective with the first month for which the claimant is no longer entitled to mother's/father's benefits.

C. Spouse to widow(er)'s benefits

When a claimant is entitled to spouse's benefits as a legal spouse and notice is received that the number holder (NH) died, both benefits are terminated.

Convert to widow(er)'s benefits if the spouse is:

  • Full retirement age (FRA) or older;

  • Under FRA with an entitled child in care, see RS 00208.090; or

  • Age 62 through the month before FRA when the NH dies. An application is not necessary. If the spouse is also entitled to a retirement insurance benefit (RIB) or disability insurance benefit (DIB), a Certificate of Election (SSA-4111) is required to receive reduced benefits. Pending receipt of the certificate, the spouse is converted and placed in suspense (S-9) status so that he/she can be identified at FRA. If the widow(er) does not elect reduced benefits, he/she will be identified at FRA and awarded benefits.

REMINDERS:

The widow(er) must file to be payee for any child or children for whom the NH was payee. (See policy in GN 00502.110B.5.)

If an annual report is needed for the year of death, see RS 02501.025 and RS 02510.005.

Do not convert spouse to widow(er)’s benefits if the following exist:

  • The NH's SSN is in the “700” series, the SS-5 is stamped “RRB,” or other information in file indicates that it is necessary to determine whether RRB or SSA has jurisdiction of the survivor claim;

  • The NH was transitionally insured (see below); or

  • Prior to 1/91, for a deemed spouse: If the spouse was entitled based on a deemed marriage and proof of living in the same household (LISH) is not in file, assume that the NH and the widow(er) were LISH at the time of the NH's death if both checks were being sent to the same address unless evidence in file indicates otherwise. Develop LISH if it appears that the checks were sent to the same address only because one spouse was representative payee for the other. For payment of the lump sum death payment (LSDP) to a deemed spouse, see RS 00210.005.

  • Effective 1/91, for a deemed spouse: Proof of LISH is not required for a spouse entitled based on a deemed marriage and the conversion can be made for benefits payable beginning 1/91.

D. Surviving divorced mother or father to surviving divorced spouse

There is no 10-year marriage duration requirement for entitlement to surviving divorced mother’s or father’s benefits, but the 10-year requirement must be met for entitlement to benefits as a surviving divorced spouse.

When a surviving divorced mother or surviving divorced father attains FRA, convert to widow(er)'s benefits under the conditions stated in RS 00208.085 provided the mother or father had been married to the deceased NH for 10 years immediately before their final divorce.

If the surviving divorced mother or father is age 60 through the month before FRA, do not convert those benefits to reduced surviving divorced spouse’s benefits; the mother or father must file application for such benefits and have been married to the deceased NH for the 10-year period.

E. Divorced spouse to surviving divorced spouse

When a beneficiary FRA or older is entitled to spouse's benefits as a divorced spouse and notice is received that the NH dies, both benefits are terminated. This is a parallel situation to RS 00207.005C.

If the divorced spouse is under FRA, but is age 62 through the month before FRA, when the NH dies, an application is not necessary. However, if the divorced spouse is also entitled to an RIB or DIB, a Certificate of Election (SSA-4111) is required for entitlement. See RS 00207.025 for instructions.

NOTE: The foregoing conversion procedure will not apply if the NH's SSN is in the “700” series or other information in file indicates that it is necessary to determine whether RRB or SSA has jurisdiction of the survivor claim (see RS 01601.150 and SM 00345.000).

If an annual report is needed for the year of death, see RS 02510.015.

F. Wife to widow - transitional insured status prior to 5/83

If a woman age 72 or older is receiving benefits as the wife of an NH who qualifies only under the transitional insured status provision and notice is received that the NH dies, terminate her benefit as well as the NH's (an LSDP is not payable). The PC will prepare an award for widow's monthly benefits (see RS 00207.002 for rate), effective with the month the NH dies unless:

  • a request for determination of jurisdiction is made to RRB; or

  • the claimant is a deemed spouse, and it is necessary to develop LISH for benefits payable prior to 1/1/91.

NOTE: Prior to 5/83 (husband’s and widower’s only): A husband or widower could not be entitled prior to 5/83 if his wife was only transitionally insured, so this conversion would not apply to a husband for months before 5/83. (See RS 00207.002.)

G. Disabled widow(er) to widow(er)

At FRA, the conversion to widow(er)'s benefits is processed by Title II Redesign (T2RD) without an application. However, the beneficiary should contact SSA if he/she wishes to pursue RIB entitlement. If the disability ceased prior to FRA, reduced widow(er) benefits are payable upon filing an application. If a disability cessation is subsequently processed for a month before the conversion, the conversion will remain valid. For procedures concerning simultaneous entitlement to widow(er)’s benefits and disabled widow(er)’s benefits, see RS 00615.315D.

H. References

NL 00722.043, Advance Notice – Age 16

RS 00207.004, Widow(er)’s, Benefits – Table of Proofs and Development – Policy

RS 00207.009, DWB Claimant Age 60 But Not Yet 61

RS 00207.025, Certificate of Election – Widow(er)’s Benefits

RS 00208.025, Mothers and Fathers Deductions – Policy

RS 00208.115, Medicare – Development and Forwarding of Claims – Mothers/Fathers

SM 03020.100, Dependent Child in Care (DCIC)

SM 03020.330, FRA DIB to RIB Conversion Process


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http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300207005
RS 00207.005 - Widow(er)'s Benefits - Conversion of Benefits - Policy - 06/26/2013
Batch run: 06/26/2013
Rev:06/26/2013