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My husband is going into a nursing home , do i get to keep his social security and if he passes away at home , what then.?

Albany, NY |

He only has a short time his DR told him ,he's very disabled from Diabetes and many other medical diseases,strokes, heart attacks and many other illnesses.,we're in our 70's, what should i do now and when he goes in the home i have to have living expenses,we don't have a large income,.I appreciate all the help u can give me.I he passes away at home how can i get him buried ,we don't have any insurance. Thank U. JUNE L.

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Attorney answers 3


I am sorry to hear about your husband's poor health and your impending loss. As for social security, you can get only one social security check each month, but you may be able to get an increase after your husband passes. In very general terms, since you are now past Full Retirement Age, if your husband's social security check now is greater than your own social security check now, you probably would be able to get the amount of his check now. If your own social security check is greater, you may not get an increase.

When someone on Social Security passes, the surviving spouse needs to notify SSA by calling the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213, or by going into the local office. SSA can then tell you how much your Social Security check will be. SSA should also explore the possibility of any other entitlement, such as if you were married previously then SSA should check to see if you could be entitled on that spouse's work record to more social security.

If your social security check ultimately is very low, ask SSA about whether you might be able to also get Supplemental Security Income. This can be paid to folks who are disabled or age 65 and older, who have limited resources and income. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000; this does not count the home or one car & there are some other exceptions. If the resources limit is met, then SSA asks about income. The SSI Federal payment amount in 2012 is a maximum of $698 monthly. If a person gets social security and SSI, generally the total can be no more than $718 monthly (but some states may have a somewhat higher state supplement). For example, if social security is $500 per month, then the Federal SSI amount could be no more than $218. SSI is paid on a sliding scale and also considers the living arrangement in calculating what is due. One advantage to begin eligible for SSI is that most states award Medicaid to SSI recipients, and it can be easier to qualify for other aid such as food stamps and housing assistance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that no social security check can be paid to a person after death. Social security checks paid by direct deposit are supposed to be returned by the bank if bank staff know of the death. For example, if a person died in August, the regular monthly social security check paid in September would not be due. If it was paid anyway, the check should be returned to SSA, or else an overpayment will result.

SSA pays a Lump Sum Death Payment of $255 in limited cases, only in these situations:
•A surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased person's record; or
•If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased person's record in the month of death.
There is no other SSA payment towards burial expenses.

This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This communication offers general information based on the limited facts set out in the question, and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. For specific legal advice, consult an attorney in your state who is knowledgeable in this area of law.


I am sorry to hear about your situation.. This is not an easy time for you.

Usually, although not always, nursing homes take the monthly check from SSA as partial payment towrds their costs. Medicare or other insurance may help reduce the amount they see frrom that check.

Otherwise, I think my colleague has covered everything.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.


If your husband goes to a nursing home and you apply for Medicaid for him, you are entitled to keep approximately $2,800 of monthly income. If your income is not $2,800, you are entitled to your husband's income to bring you up to $2,800. If your husband still has income after that adjustment, it must be paid to the nursing home.

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