Frequently Asked Questions

Can I submit my claim online?
Yes, you can. Go to the Report a Death and Initiate a Claim section and select “Submit securely online as a beneficiary” or “Initiate securely online as a financial representative and send to beneficiary(ies) for completion” under step 3. You will then receive a link to view your claim package and submit the necessary forms entirely online.

Can I submit my claim over the phone?
If you are filing a claim as an individual, you may be eligible for our Express Claims feature, which allows you to process a claim quickly and easily over the phone.

Visit the Express Claims section to review the requirements and determine if you are eligible.

What is a Safe Access Account?
As a beneficiary of a John Hancock annuity contract electing a Cash Settlement, you may choose to have your claim proceeds deposited into a John Hancock Safe Access Account (please note a Safe Access Account is not available to residents of the State of New York). A Safe Access Account is an interest-bearing account from which checks can be written to access the account balance that is guaranteed by John Hancock. You may choose to write a check for all or part of the account without any fees or penalties. A John Hancock Safe Access Account is not a bank account and not FDIC insured. Note that any gain in the annuity contract is includible in your gross income for federal income tax purposes at the time it is deposited into the account. If you elect to receive your money via the John Hancock Safe Access Account, the income portion of the annuity proceeds will be subject to current federal income tax and may be subject to state income tax. Any interest subsequently earned on the Safe Access account will also be subject to taxes for the year credited to the account. The amount deposited in a Safe Access Account will be net of the 20% withholding on death benefits paid under a 403(b) contract or contract held in a qualified plan. Visit our website or refer to the enclosed Safe Access insert in the claim package to learn more about a
John Hancock Safe Access Account.

Can a claim be processed prior to receiving claim forms from all beneficiaries?
For fixed annuity contracts, partial payouts are acceptable. However, due to market volatility, we cannot process partial claims on variable annuity contracts. The determination of the death benefit on variable contracts will be made on the date we receive proof of death and all required claim forms in good order from all beneficiaries at our Annuities Service Center.

Can all of the claim paperwork be faxed in?
Yes. Paperwork can be sent via fax at 1-617-663-3389; however, John Hancock reserves the right to require that original paperwork be mailed in (including a certified original death certificate if the total death benefit for all annuity contracts owned by the deceased is greater than $250,000) at any point during the claim process.

When do I need to complete IRS Form W-9 versus IRS Form W-8?
Each beneficiary must submit a properly completed IRS Form W-9. If a beneficiary is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien or other U.S. person, that beneficiary must submit a properly completed IRS Form W-8 instead. There are different Forms W-8 depending on the beneficiary’s status. Please refer to the instructions on Forms W-9 and W-8 on how to complete each form. You can obtain copies of the forms and their instructions on the IRS website.

What is the purpose of the “Authorization to Defer Maturity” form?
When a surviving spouse elects to continue the contract as the new owner-annuitant, he or she must also declare a new maturity date or complete an “Authorization to Defer Maturity” form. The new contract owner-annuitant must select a new maturity date because the original maturity date was based on the date of birth of the deceased owner-annuitant. The new owner-annuitant can defer annuitization by extending the contract’s maturity date to a maximum age of 100, subject to the terms and conditions of the contract. By extending the date of maturity, the contract will remain in the accumulation phase.

What if a beneficiary’s name has changed?
Documentation to substantiate the change must be submitted; for example, a copy of a divorce decree or marriage certificate.

What if a beneficiary is deceased?
If the primary beneficiary passed away before the annuity owner, unless otherwise provided by the annuity owner, the primary beneficiary’s share is paid to the remaining living primary beneficiaries. If there are no living primary beneficiaries, the deceased beneficiary’s share will be paid to the contingent beneficiaries. If all beneficiaries passed away before the annuity owner, the proceeds are paid to the owner’s estate. For any deceased beneficiary, you must submit a copy of his or her death certificate.

What if the beneficiary is an estate but no petition for probate has been filed?
To process the claim, John Hancock will require submission of either Letters Testamentary or a Letter of Administration issued by the court. If the estate will not be probated, it may be possible to claim the death benefit with a small estate affidavit. Please consult with your own attorney for any state-specific requirements.

What are Letters Testamentary or a Letter of Administration?
Letters Testamentary or a Letter of Administration are a state’s court appointment of a person to act as executor or administrator of an estate. If the beneficiary is an estate, the Annuity Claim Form must be signed by the
court-appointed representative.

What if the beneficiary is a minor?
If the proceeds are less than $10,000, John Hancock will generally allow parents of a minor beneficiary to claim the proceeds upon presentation of the minor’s birth certificate. Generally for proceeds of $10,000 or more, a court-appointed guardian or conservator of the minor’s property must submit the claim. For your state requirements, please contact an
Annuity Claim Representative.

What if an attorney-in-fact is appointed in a power-of-attorney or a guardian is appointed
by the court?
To claim the death benefit on behalf of the beneficiary, a complete copy of the power-of-attorney or guardianship document, including all signature pages, must be submitted with the Annuity Claim Form. John Hancock reserves the right to reject the claim if, in its opinion, the attorney-in-fact or guardian is acting outside the scope of his or her authority.

Does the income benefit on my spouse’s contract automatically restart if I select
Spousal Continuation?
No. A new “Income Made Easy” form is required to restart the benefit, if available, after the new contract is established.

Will the missed payments be made up when I submit the “Income Made Easy” form?
The payments will restart once the form is received in good order. The monthly payment amount will be recalculated based on the Guaranteed Withdrawal Balance (which may include a death benefit step-up).

My spouse had an “Income Plus For Life” rider on his or her contract. Does the benefit continue on my contract if I choose a Spousal Continuation?
If the rider was “Income Plus For Life” then the rider is an individual benefit that stops at the death of the Covered Person. If the benefit was “Income Plus For Life–Joint Life” then the rider would continue to a spouse who was also named as a Covered Person under the rider.


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John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Lansing, MI 48906, which is not licensed in New York. In New York, John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595. John Hancock Variable Annuities are distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, member FINRA.