A family member or other person responsible for the beneficiary's affairs should do the following:
One-time Lump Sum Death Benefit
Promptly notify Social Security of the beneficiary's death by calling SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. (TTY 1-800-325-0778.)
If monthly benefits were being paid via direct deposit, notify the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiary's death. Request that any funds received for the month of death and later be returned to Social Security as soon as possible.
If benefits were being paid by check, DO NOT CASH any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. Return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible.
A one-time payment of $255 is payable to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the beneficiary at the time of death, OR if living apart, was eligible for Social Security benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record for the month of death.
If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child 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 following booklets contain more information about filing for benefits and can be downloaded by clicking on the title.
- Survivor Benefits: (Publication No. 05-10084) http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html
- Social Security: Understanding the Benefits: (Publication No. 05-10024) http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10024.html
Source: Social Security Online www.ssa.gov