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I have legal guardianship for my partner. He passed away on August 22, 2019. He received his SSA benefits on the 3rd of every month. If SSA benefits are paid a month behind, then the benefits he received in August would have been for July. However, SSA states that he wasn't entitled for monthly benefits beginning August 2019. My question is this...he didn't receive any benefits on 09/03/19. Why would we need to pay back the benefits received on 08/03/19?

The 8/3/19 check would have been for July.

So I think a check deposited for July's living expenses would not be owed back to Social Security.

If the last check ever received is supposed to be for the last full month of survival. So the check intended to cover the entire month of (July) would be correct - unless I'm not understanding something. I would be trying to get the payment back into my partner's bank/estate account. Had SS deposited any additional monthly check, it would have been incorrect on the Social Security side.
Some of my confusion is the mention of a 9/3/19 check. If it was never received but July's benefit was received, it seems to me that would zero out everyone - no payments nor deposits would be owed to anybody.

After death, no future monthly payments are supposed to be received, no matter the actual date of death. The more "benefit" dates SS uses, especially with a tired, grieving family member just trying to tackle after-death finances I think complicates this situation.
Wouldn't it be easier or more clear to advise after death that any monthly checks are stopped? Since the payments are for the previous full month, it does seem that SS would never have to recover any deposits made.

If SS does have to recover overpaid benefits it means someone accepted the check, either through misunderstanding or intentionally spending what it not his/hers to spend. It was someone spending what belonged to Social Security.

Since someone used Social Security's money without the blessings of SS, they have essentially borrowed those funds. Borrowed monies are always owed back - otherwise it would be a gift. In my way of thinking, monies spent and owed back are essentially loans. Again, we may not have intended to borrow the money but somehow did. That is why I'm thinking of over payments to essentially be a loan when it comes to settlement of an SS debt.

As to my way of thinking, even if I borrow by mistake and owe it back, I don't see how it is anything but a loan. If we borrow from our neighbor or friend and repayment is expected or agreed upon, it's still a loan even if we did not all sit down with an understanding that it needed to be paid back.

Let me know what you think as I have people who question this often and I want to be sure I develop both a working understanding and an understanding of what people perceive it to be.
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Reply to Houseplant102
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If benefits are paid on August 3, 2019, I still take this to mean he should not have to return any check until September 3, 2019.

Given the information provided by everyone on this site, and after looking at the SS booklet, yes, it's a very good idea to take the death certificate to the Social Security office to verify if the partners check is to be kept, or to be returned.

That said, I've taken a slightly different approach in trying to make sense of a last- check requirement. I may be all wrong, so if I am, someone else jump in and try to clarify this:

He did not fulfill requirements for the month of August- to survive for 31 days.

A check received in August covers his living expenses already incurred in July. Well, he survived that entire month, so I too ask "Why was this check taken back"?

I still take it to mean, in this case, the last check/benefit received was for July. This is because the person survived that entire month.

He didn't survive the entire month of September, so Social Security was actually providing a short-term 22 day loan for that time period only. Repayment of this loan would be due on September 3rd.

I still think Social Security is failing the public when explaining how this works in real terms that people might understand.

Please help me clarify this point. This topic comes up frequently among ladies whose spouses are in nursing homes and receiving checks.
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Reply to Houseplant102
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worriedinCali Sep 14, 2019
Social security didn’t provide a loan though. The last check they issued was on 8/3 and it was for July. Not sure what point you are trying to make here. Social security never issued a check for August. You don’t have to live the entire month of August in order to keep July’s check that was issued in august. Where do you get the idea that SS made a loan? That’s not possible when they pay a month behind.
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Social Security Administration | Publication No. 05-10077
What you need to know when you get retirement or Survivors Benefits.

What you need to when you get supplemental security income (SSI)
Publication No. 05-11011

"We pay Social Security benefits monthly. the benefits are paid in the month following for which they are due. for Example, you would receive your July benefit in August. Generally, the day of the month you receive your benefit payment depends on the birth date of the person for whose earnings record you receive benefits. for example, if you get benefits as a retired worker, we base your benefit payment date on your birth date. If you receive benefits based on your spouse's work, we base your benefit payment on yur spouse's date on your spouse's birth date."

Date of birth: Benefits paid each month on:

1st - 10th Second wednesday

11th - 20th Third Wednesday

21st - 31th Fourth Wednesday


"If you receive both Social Security and SSI benefits, your Social Security payment will arrive on the third of the month and your SSI payment will arrive on the first of the month."

Now all of that being retyped with my aching fingers, I would suggest that you take a copy of the death certificate and go to your local SS office to ensure that the correct date of death has been entered, to clarify the month for which the last payment was made, and to apply for the death benefit
The death benefit I received was no much but is intended to help off set the funeral costs. If I remember correctly it was $255.00. Not much for a $12K funeral and burial.

going to their office is a struggle but, worth the time.
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Reply to OldSailor
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Social Security Administration | Publication No. 05-10077
What you need to know when you get retirement or Survivors Benefits.

What you need to when you get supplemental security income (SSI)
Publication No. 05-11011

"We pay Social Security benefits monthly. the benefits are paid in the month following for which they are due. for Example, you would receive your July benefit in August. Generally, the day of the month you receive your benefit payment depends on the birth date of the person for whose earnings record you receive benefits. for example, if you get benefits as a retired worker, we base your benefit payment date on your birth date. If you receive benefits based on your spouse's work, we base your benefit payment on yur spouse's date on your spouse's birth date."

Date of birth: Benefits paid each month on:

1st - 10th Second wednesday

11th - 20th Third Wednesday

21st - 31th Fourth Wednesday


"If you receive both Social Security and SSI benefits, your Social Security payment will arrive on the third of the month and your SSI payment will arrive on the first of the month."

Now all of that being retyped with my aching fingers, I would suggest that you take a copy of the death certificate and go to your local SS office to ensure that the correct date of death has been entered, to clarify the month for which the last payment was made, and to apply for the death benefit
The death benefit I received was no much but is intended to help off set the funeral costs. If I remember correctly it was $255.00. Not much for a $12K funeral and burial.
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Reply to OldSailor
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I would ask Social Security directly. Probably some mix up by a clerk over the months unless they think they paid in September for some reason. Phone them up, I’m sure they will be able to sort out for you very quickly.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/why-does-social-security-withdraw-direct-deposits-deceased-persons-bank-account

I believe that you will receive the payment back.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I may be wrong here but, didn't SS change the payment date to the present system back abut 1998 or before and some were grandfathered in under the old method?
correct me if I aam wrong but don't throw your vegetables at me.
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Reply to OldSailor
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jacobsonbob Sep 12, 2019
"...don't throw your vegetables at me"--LOL--thanks, that made my day!

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to your question. However, I remember that back in 1983 my grandfather died March 29 or 30, and when my mother wondered why there was no SS check a few days later, the local postmaster (this was in a little village) said he had to send his SS check back because my grandfather had died before the end of the month.
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I think you are correct and do not owe anything. I would call or make an appointment and go in to discuss it. Hope it is just some clerical error and they straighten it out. If they insist, consider having a lawyer contact them on your behalf. Of course, that will take a bite out of the ss payment .
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Reply to Silverspring
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I think you are correct - your partner lived until Aug. 22 - so no benefits for the month of August. But if no benefits were paid in September (for the month of August) - then what are they trying to take back?  The payment he received Aug. 3 was correct - it was for July.  Was this some kind of direct deposit snafu?  I think you will have to have Social Security representative look into this.
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Reply to rovana
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All I know is: the soc sec isn't provided in the same month that a person dies. Ex: my mom died in June, so they took back the June payment. Sorry you lost ur partner
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Reply to Tiger55
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lealonnie1 Sep 11, 2019
Same exact situation with my Dad....SSI demanded June payment back when Dad passed in June.
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I've read information from various sources, some say it's one way, some another. Taking back benefits for the previous month in which he survived - no sense to me.
Social Security needs to provide a uniform explanation that is understandable. I'm not real sure Soc. Sec. employees know the right answer.

Explanations are written in English, yet I've found no one who knows the answer.
If SS even understands it's own policies, it is either very adept at being sneaky or too disoriented to communicate the right answer.
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Reply to Houseplant102
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worriedinCali Sep 11, 2019
The social security website is pretty clear on this—benefits are paid a month in arrears. It’s on page 1 of the SS benefits guidebook https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10077.pdf

”the benefits are paid in the month following the month in which they are due. for example you receive your July benefit in August”.
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You are correct. And he isn't entitled to benefits for August. Sept payment is August benefits and you received none. If SS is direct deposited and they take back the August payment which is July money, they r in the wrong.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Sounds like an error on SSA’s part. And not an uncommon one. The payment he received 8/3 was for July so he was entitled to that payment. It is August’s payment which would have been paid 9/3 that he is not entitled too. Social security does NOT pay in advance so the payment on 8/3 was NOT for August. It was for July so they shouldn’t be taking it back.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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murrhamm Sep 10, 2019
Thank you! I am sending the Request for Reconsideration to appeal their decision.
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Social security generally makes payment toward the beginning of the month for that month. If the senior passes within that month, even if they live to the end of the month, SS wants to be repaid that Month's payment, and will freeze any accounts until they get that month back. It isn't fair, but it is fact.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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murrhamm Sep 10, 2019
Aren't the SSA benefit payments for the prior month? So, any benefits paid in August would be for July?
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