Social Security Benefits

Social Security Benefits

SSA should be notified as soon as possible when a person passes away. In most cases, the funeral director you are working with can assist you. The following information is designed to help you understand what benefits are available and how to apply for them correctly.

Who Is Eligible ?

A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disable);

A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased's child under age 16 or disabled;

An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if he or she is a full time student in an elementary or secondary school); or age 18 or older with a disability that began at age 22

A stepchild, grandchild, step- grandchild or adopted child under certain circumstances

Parent, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support 

A surviving divorced spouse (under certain circumstances)   

Lump -Sum Death Payment

In addition to any monthly Social Security benefits to which the survivors may be entitled, a surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump- sum death payment of $255.00 if they meet certain requirements. 

If the surviving spouse was living in the same household with the worker when he or she died, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive the payment .

If they were living apart, the surviving spouse can still receive the lump- sum if , during the month the worker died, he or she was already receiving benefits on the worker's record or became eligible for benefits upon the worker's death. 

If there is no surviving spouse, the lump- sum payment will go to the worker's child or children if, during the month the worker died, the child/ children were already receiving benefits on the worker's record, or became eligible for benefits upon the worker's death. 

How to Apply for Benefit

If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, it is important t apply promptly because benefits may be paid from the time you apply, rather than the time the worker died/ you can apply by telephone or at any Social Security office. You will need to provide the following information to apply for survivor's benefits:

Proof of death- either from a funeral home or death certificate

The deceased worker's Social Security number 

Your Social Security number 

Your Birth Certificates

Your Marriage Certificate (if applying as a divorced widow or widower) 

Dependent  Children Social Security Number and Birth Certificate 

Deceased worker's W-2 forms and Federal Self- Employment Tax Return for the most recent year. 

The name of your bank and you account number so benefits can be deposited directly into your account. 

file for benefits early

It is important to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible after the death of a family member, This will help to ensure that the survivors receive all the benefits they may be entitled to collect. In most cases, the funeral director you are working with can assist you in filing a benefits claim.

Contact Social Security

For more information, contact your local Social Security office or call 1.800. 77.1213 (TTY 1.800.325.0778)

To find your local Social Security office online, visit

For more information on how Social Security can help you after your family member dies  visit

You can also Click on the link under Resources.