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Ask Rusty – Widow Stung by Social Security’s “Claw Back” Rule

March 20, 2023 | Presenting: Russell Gloor - AMAC Foundation Social Security Advisor

Dear Rusty: My husband of 48 years died on December 30th, and he received a Social Security direct deposit for December’s benefits in early January, but Social Security demanded the bank return his December payment. I used part of his December benefits to pay for household expenses, so his bank account was overdrawn after his bank paid back his Social Security for the December benefit. My questions are:

1. Is it legal for Social Security to demand a return of his benefits because he died one day prior to 1/1/2023? That just seems so wrong to me!

2. Am I legally responsible for the overdrawn amount his bank repaid to Social Security? I was not notified by Social Security or his bank before “the deed was done”.

3. Aren’t there Social Security spousal benefits available for the surviving spouse, and how do I apply for them? (Form #, please)

My husband medically retired early, and his Social Security benefits were always lower than mine, but I fear that my benefits may be affected by his death. Is that true? Signed: Grieving Widow, Feeling Wronged

This recording presents the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. To request additional information, contact our Advisory Staff at 888-750-2622, or email us at [email protected].