Survivors Benefits for My Son

Updated on July 12, 2010
N.H. asks from Eagle Grove, IA
10 answers

My son's father passed away in February of this year and I am trying to get Survivors Benefits for my son now. But am having a problem Establishing Paternity because he did not sign the birth certificate and his family is not cooperating with me or Social Security. They have had visitation with my son, but my feeling is now that they are not cooperating and filling out the papers for the benefits, that they are basically denying my son. Why should they be allowed to see him if they are not going to help me get things done with securing my son's future. That money is for my son's future and he is entitled to it. If you have any suggestions as to what to do please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

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answers from Portland on

I think you can prove paternity by supplying a sample from his body for DNA testing. Perhaps he left a hair brush at your house or clothes that he'd worn.

You can also provide paternity by having his parents provide a sample for DNA testing along with yours and your son's.

I don't know the rules that SS require or if DNA testing will be enough of a proof but you could ask.

I don't know if an attorney could help. I think I'd first try being very open and direct with his parents asking them why they haven't filled out the paper work. Do they have the papers? If not could you get them and give them to them and wait until they've filled them out and then mail they yourself.

Having their son die is no doubt painful. Perhaps filling out papers related to his death is difficult for them to do. Assume that they want to help their grandson get the benefits to which he's entitled. Don't make threats. Threats rarely work. They make people angry and less cooperative.

And please don't feel that they are denying your son. If they're wanting to visit with him they're not denying him. I think that there are other possibilities for them not filling them out. One that immediately came to my mind is that they're procrastinators. I nearly always have difficulty completing government forms. I've been late with my taxes more than once. The death of their son is much more emotional than filing taxes. Give them the benefit of the doubt. There is no deadline for filing for death benefits.

If you can't get them to fill out the papers by being calm and persistent then call the SS office to find out what the next step would be. I've had frequent contact with the SS office and found them to be helpful.

Someone suggested that they might want the benefits for themselves. That is a legal impossibility. The benefit is for the child of the one who is deceased.

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answers from Appleton on

You don't say how your son's father passed away. If there was an autopsy the M.E. may have tissue samples for a DNA test. If not see if you can get a court order for a DNA test from one of his family members. The other option is if you have a toothbrush or hair brush or a piece of his clothing that he wore and hasn't been washed. All of these items can be used for a DNA test. This may seem a bit over the top but if the family won't help you then it amy be the route you need to go.
I know DNA testing can be expensive you may have to take them to small claims court to help pay for the cost of the test. On the basis of if you woukld have filled out the paperwork I wouldn't have needed to go the DNA test route.
You also should be talking to a family law attorney.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Please don't deny your son a relationship with his grandparents! He's already lost his father. The legal, bureaucratic stuff is SO separate from a child's need for a relationship with his relatives.

As other responders have said, it may be possible to get this done without their help. It may be that they are having difficulty dealing with the death, or just the filling out of government forms. It's been only two months since their son died. When I lost my mother to a drunk driver, I was not functioning normally for a long time. And I surely wouldn't have done well with requests to fill our government paperwork (or threats about taking away access to my grandson).

Find out your options. Then try to see this from a grieving parent's perspective and work through this with some patience.

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answers from Tampa on

You most certainly need an attorney for this whole situation. From this point on I would stop the visitation until paternity is established. This is not because you are being mean it is because they refuse to be of any assistance in the situation. They can NOT have the benefit of your son's company if they are NOT willing to help establish a connection (unfortunately in this case you need to do it legally).
Good Luck

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answers from Sheboygan on

It has been less than 3 months since the death of their son. Don't jump to conclusions on why they are not being doesn't help the situation. They are probably still dealing with the death of their son and not wanting to deal with much else. It would be in your best interest, as well as your sons, to be patient with them. Also, there must be a way to get the benefits without their cooperation. It would probably be a good idea to talk to a lawyer.
Good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

You need to get a Lawyer.

There is no "proof" of paternity.... thus far.
Was the "visitation" just casually worked out by you/them... or by the courts? Did he pay child support?

How can they have visitation... if paternity was not proven? That means, to me, that they can't "prove" they are the Grandparents either.... thus why the "visitation"?????

Was custody joint or only you?

You really need an Attorney... they are not cooperating with you for survivor benefits (but probably competing with you for it)... BUT, then, they will probably STILL EXPECT "visitation" right? But, you/they can't even PROVE your son is their relative or grandchild etc. and that your Ex was his Dad....
Its a complicated issue... not just about the survivor benefits.

Next, did your Ex have a will etc.? If he did not bequeath anything to your son, it is up for grabs.... and well, Paternity is not proven....

They are not helping you at all.... and well, they can't "prove" they are the Grandparents either... so why should they get visitation, especially now that their son is passed away?

Bottom line is, they are playing games... for their benefit and getting any money out of your Ex's passing. And they are just greedy. I would not call them "family" nor Grandparents. They don't care about your son.... nor help.
I would be legalistic with them.... and know what the facts are... and get an Attorney.

all the best,

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answers from Minneapolis on

I was sort of in the same situation. My daughter's father passed away 2 years ago. We had her as teenagers, were eventually married, but never legally established that he was her father. My daughter is an adult, so the reason for establishing it was so she could get her share of his pension. I don't recall how my daughter arranged it, but we went to our blood memorial center for the test and they used tissue samples from her dad. It cost $500 to do the test. He had since been cremated and buried, so they must have kept samples on file?? Not really sure how that works, but if you do some research, should be able to get some answers. Having that paper showing paternity and a copy of his death certificate should be all you need to apply for the benefits and you should be able to do that without the family's help if they are being so unwilling. It really doesn't make sense, because it's not like you are taking anything away from them, but they do stand to lose visitation with their grandson.



answers from Lincoln on

have social services or social security request a paternity test and if his biological parents are both alive then they can do a test on them and you and prove paternity of your son... i hope this helps...



answers from Omaha on

if you have anything signed by your child's father where he is taking responsibility of being a father, that will help. I was lucky because he had signed a paper saying it was ok for me to take my child on a trip to mexico with a notary also, so mine was cut an dried, but i would think maybe birthday cards, etc


answers from Omaha on

Deal with it cut and dry. Get a lawer and he/she will take you through the steps you need to get what you deserve for your son. Take the emotion out of it. You can't control what other people do, but you can control what you do. Be straight forward and get what belongs to your child. This has absolutely nothing to do with them. They are simply a road block that you need to get around.

Good Luck,

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