My husband died, and I am processing his Social Security System claim. May I ask what benefits will I be entitled to? Will our son also be entitled to benefits? How will the benefits be computed?
Under the law, the primary beneficiaries of a deceased Social Security System (SSS) member include the dependent spouse and children, whether legitimate or illegitimate (Sec. 8 [k], Republic Act [RA] 8282). As primary beneficiaries, they are entitled to receive death benefits, which may either be in the form of a monthly pension or lump sum depending on the number of monthly contributions the deceased member was able to make.
If the deceased member made at least 36 monthly contributions prior to the semester of death, the primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a monthly pension. (Sec. 13, Id.) The monthly pension due shall be the highest among: 1) the sum of three hundred pesos (P300.00) plus twenty percent (20 percent) of the average monthly salary credit plus two percent (2 percent) of the AMSC for each CYS in excess of ten (10) years; or 2) forty percent (40 percent) of the AMSC; or 3) one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) if the member had fewer than ten (10) CYS; one thousand two hundred pesos (P1,200.00) if with at least ten (10) CYS; or two thousand four hundred pesos (P2,400.00) if with at least twenty (20) CYS.
In addition to the monthly pension, a dependent’s pension is also due equivalent to ten percent (10 percent) of the monthly pension or Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00), whichever is higher, for each dependent child subject to the following conditions: the child must be conceived on or before the date of death; at most, only five (5) dependent children may claim, beginning with the youngest and without substitution; and legitimate children are preferred over illegitimate children (Sec. 12-A, RA 8282). Finally, the deceased member’s beneficiaries are also entitled to a thirteenth (13th) month pension payable every December
On the other hand, if the deceased member has not paid the required thirty-six (36) monthly contributions, his primary or secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit equivalent to the monthly pension times the number of monthly contributions paid to the SSS or twelve (12) times the monthly pension, whichever is higher (Sec. 13, RA 8282).
To qualify as a beneficiary, however, the spouse and/or children must be dependent on the deceased member. A legal spouse is said to be dependent if he or she is entitled by law to receive support from the deceased member. (Sec. 8 (e), Id.) As to a child, he or she must be unmarried, not gainfully employed and has not reached twenty-one (21) years of age, or if over twenty-one (21) years of age, he is congenitally or while still a minor has been permanently incapacitated and incapable of self-support, physically or mentally to qualify as a primary beneficiary. (Ibid.)
Based on the foregoing, you are qualified to receive death benefits from the SSS which may either be in the form of monthly pension or lump sum depending on whether your husband was able to make at least thirty-six (36) monthly contributions prior to his semester of death, subject to the condition that you are “dependent” on him as prescribed by the law. Your son may also be entitled to dependent’s pension if he is unmarried, not gainfully employed and is below 21 years old or otherwise permanently incapacitated.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com.