WHAT TO DO WHEN A BENEFICIARY DIES
A family member or other person responsible for the beneficiary's
affairs should do the following:
- Promptly notify Social Security of the beneficiary's death by
calling SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. The funeral home will also
fax a notification of death to SSA.
- 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.
- One-time Lump Sum Death Benefit: 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 receiving
Social Security benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record. 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.
- Monthly survivors benefits can be paid to certain family
members, including the beneficiary's widow or widower, dependent
children and dependent parents. Our local Social Security office is
located at 289 Stockade Drive, Kingston, NY 12401. More valuable
information can be obtained on the internet: www.socialsecurity.com
The Social Security Act provides for the payment of survivor's
benefits to certain relatives if they fall into one of the
- Widow (er) age 60 or older. * Widow (er) at any age caring for
the children of the deceased under age 16 or disabled.
- Widow (er) or divorced spouse age 50 or older if disabled.
Children up to age 18 or under age 19 if in high school full
- Children over age 18, if they became disabled prior to age 22.
* Parents of the deceased age 62 or older, if supported by the
- Divorced spouse of the deceased age 60 or older married 10
years or more.
- In addition to the monthly benefits, a special one-time payment
of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the deceased at
the time of death, or if there is none, to a spouse or a
child/children who is eligible for benefits.
- Within 30 days from the date of death, you should receive a
letter from Social Security. This letter will provide further
instruction concerning applying for entitled benefits. You can
apply for benefits by phone or at any Social Security office.
- If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any
checks which arrive after the death must be returned. If benefit
checks were being directly deposited, then the bank would also need
to be notified.
Link to US Social Security Administration: