Death Benefits from Social Security

If you are a family member responsible for the beneficiary’s affairs, below are some things you can do to get social security benefits.

Promptly notify Social Security of the beneficiary’s death by calling SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

If any monthly benefits were being paid by direct deposit, immediately notify the bank or financial institution of the beneficiary’s death. You must Stop any funds received for the month of death and later be returned to Social Security as soon as possible.

If the benefits were being paid by check, DO NOT CASH the check received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. You should return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible.

One-time Lump Sum Death Benefit

A one-time payment of $255.00 is payable to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the beneficiary at the time of death, OR if they were living apart, or was eligible for Social Security benefits on the beneficiary’s earnings record for the month of death.

If there is no surviving spouse, then the payment of $255.00 is made payable to a child (under 18) who was eligible for benefits on the beneficiary’s earnings record in the month of death.

Benefits for Survivors

Monthly survivors benefits can be paid to certain family members, including the beneficiary’s widow or widower, dependent children and dependent parents.

The booklets below contain information about filing for benefits and can be downloaded by clicking on the title.

Survivors Benefits (Publication No. 05-10084)
Social Security: Understanding the Benefits (Publication No. 05-10024)
You can go the the Social Security Website or call them to receive the publication.