The first step in receiving your deceased partners pension is determining whether you are entitled to the survivors benefit. Given you didnt sign a written statement that saw you give up your survivors benefits, consider where he worked, his retirement date and when he died, states Wiser.
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 survivors benefit, states Wiser.
The REAs waiver provisions for survivors 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 didnt sign the waiver form, says Wiser.