What are the steps in getting your spouse's pension when he dies?


Quick Answer

The first step in receiving your deceased partner’s pension is determining whether you are entitled to the survivor’s benefit. Given you didn’t sign a written statement that saw you give up your survivor’s benefits, consider where he worked, his retirement date and when he died, states Wiser.

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Full Answer

The next step is to ascertain that your spouse was a member of any of the private pension plans available at his workplace — if he worked for a private employer. Local, state and federal government employees are not members of private pension plans and their rules are a bit different. This also includes military members and church and church-related agencies’ employees, notes Wiser.

If your spouse died before the REA was signed on Aug. 23, 1984, he might have chosen to receive benefits paid only during their lifetime leaving you with none when he died. However, if he was working and was deceased on or after this date but before the first day of 1985, you may be entitled to some survivor’s benefit, states Wiser.

The REA’s waiver provisions for survivor’s benefits apply only to years starting after Dec. 31, 1984. Thus, if your spouse retired in or after 1985, you may be eligible for his pension provided you didn’t sign the waiver form, says Wiser.

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