My father died last year and I am one of his legitimate children, who are all of legal age. My parents were separated 27 years ago. We have no communication with my mother until the dying time of my father when she appeared and asked for forgiveness from my father. She left us to live with another man, whom she had two children. Later on, my mother also left that man and lived with another man.
My questions are: Can my mother still claim for the SSS death benefits of my father even if they had been separated for 27 years? Can my brother and I still be beneficiaries in the SSS even if we are both of legal age?
The death benefit of a deceased member of the Social Security System (SSS) is granted to his primary beneficiaries and, in the absence thereof, to his secondary beneficiaries. The primary beneficiaries are his/her dependent spouse until he or she remarries and dependent children either legitimate, legitimated, legally adopted, or illegitimate. A spouse is considered “dependent” if he or she is the legal spouse, who by law is entitled for support, while a child is considered “dependent” if he is unmarried, not gainfully employed and has not reached 21 years of age, or if above 21 years of age, he is congenitally or while still a minor has been permanently incapacitated and incapable of self-support, physically or mentally. On the other hand, the secondary beneficiaries of deceased SSS member are his dependent parents or such other person designated by such member, in the absence of the parents (Section 8[e], Section 8[k], Section 13 of Republic
Act [R.A] No. 8282 or the “Social Security Act of 1997”).
Based from the foregoing, a wife shall only be entitled to the death benefit of his deceased husband if she is the legal wife who is entitled by law for support and such benefit shall be granted to her until she remarries. The legal wife, under Article 195 of the Family Code, is entitled for support from her spouse. However the spouse who leaves the conjugal home or refuses to live therein, without just cause, shall not be entitled to support (Article 100, Family Code). On this ground, your mother may not be entitled to the death benefit from the SSS by reason of the death of your father because, as you have stated, your mother left your house 27 years ago to live with other men.
As to your entitlement to the death benefit, you and your brother cannot anymore claim said death benefit as primary beneficiaries because you are not considered as dependent children anymore. However, you may be entitled to the said benefit if your father has designated you and your brother as beneficiaries in his record with the SSS assuming that your paternal grandparents are also dead. As to this matter, you may inquire with the SSS Office regarding the beneficiaries which were designated by your father regarding death benefits.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have presented. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated.