How to create a financial survival plan

Know your benefits

Make sure your partner knows what benefits to expect, their amounts and how to collect on them.

  • Your human resources department can help in collecting unpaid wages and employer-provided life and disability benefits.
  • Collect on individual life insurance by filling out the company’s claim form and submitting a copy of the death certificate.
  • If you have a private pension, your spouse may be entitled to a lifetime minimum annuity; some plans also pay death benefits.
  • The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs pay benefits based on your work history and financial need in the event of total disability expected to last one year or longer.
  • Spouses become eligible for monthly Social Security survivors benefits at age 60. Your spouse may receive a smaller benefit if she collects before reaching full retirement age.
  • Spouses of service members and veterans who die or become totally and permanently disabled through their service are eligible for benefits and services, including a survivor’s pension, VA mortgages and financial counseling.