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Murphy Seeks To Strengthen Social Security Survivor Benefits

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
Steve Helber
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is proposing a bill he says will help families receive more Social Security benefits when a loved one dies. The bill was prompted by a constituent from Murphy’s home town of Cheshire.

Ray Squire, a Korean War veteran, called Murphy’s office when he found something strange in Social Security’s survivor benefit policy.

Squire told Murphy he’s worried that his family wouldn’t be able to pay their bills if he were to die at the end of a month.

That’s because current law requires family members of the deceased to pay back all the Social Security money they received in the month of the death, no matter when the person died.

Murphy says his bill would fix that by requiring Social Security to pay a prorated amount for the part of the month the person was alive.

The bill also increases the one-time payment a family receives after the death of a loved one. Under current law, it’s $255. Murphy wants to raise that to half of the monthly Social Security check the deceased would have received.

Murphy says that for too many families in Connecticut current law forces them into a financial hole, as they’re coping with their grief.