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Saying Goodbye to Caregiving

By Jenifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 3)

Hopefully, an attorney had been brought into the picture before the death and all the pertinent financial and legal information is in one place. A common misconception is that Social Security is automatically notified upon a personís passing away. Another misconception is that benefits issued after the death can be collected by family members until the account is formally closed.

Social Security will eventually find out a loved one is gone, but it could take weeks or months before itís reflected in their records. The office will also then know whether the family has been collecting benefits wrongfully. For this reason, a caregiver should be proactive and notify the office immediately, and donít forget to have copies of the death certificate as well as proof that the caregiver can discuss a loved oneís estate.

Experts also note that after the death of a loved one, itís important to review the final Medicare Summary Notice (MSN).  This is to ensure that all medical procedures billed to Medicare were done prior to the personís death. Caregivers have sometimes found that Medicare was billed for a while after a personís death and it has gone unnoticed. 

Caregiving is a rewarding experience, and when it ends, it may take a caregiver a while to see all those rewards. Thatís okay, and to be expected. Grief is a part of life, as is any other emotion. Amidst the paperwork and days that drag on, a caregiver can remember that they gave their loved one a quality of life they deserved, and their loved one gave a caregiver the purpose they needed.


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