The decedent’s payments need to be stopped, but survivor’s benefits may be available to the spouse or, in certain cases, children.
If a loved one who was receiving Social Security dies, you need to notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. Often the funeral home does this as one of its services, but if not, you can notify Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213 or contacting your local Social Security office. Benefits are not paid for the month the recipient dies and are not prorated. So, even if the recipient dies in the middle or end of the month, Social Security will not pay any benefits for that month. If the Social Security Administration is not notified on time and makes a payment, that payment will have to be returned.
Regardless of age or eligibility for survivor’s benefits, surviving spouses are entitled to a one-time lump-sum payment of $255 if they were living with the decedent or collecting benefits. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment can be made to a child who qualifies for benefits.
In addition to the lump-sum death benefit, certain family members may be eligible to receive monthly survivor’s benefits, including the following:
- A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if they have a disability).
- A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.
- A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or has a disability and is receiving child’s benefits.
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school) or age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
- Parents, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support.
For more information about Social Security survivor's benefits, click here.
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