Social Security Benefits

Social Security Benefits

The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.


To receive monthly benefits, the deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death. Those eligible for monthly benefits include:

  • A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
  • A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
  • Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time)
  • Children who were disabled before reaching 22 as long as they remained disabled
  • Dependent parent or parents 62 or older

Lump-Sum Death Payment

A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:

  • A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death
  • A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
  • A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death

Applying for Benefits

You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office, by telephone at 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.ssa.gov.


General Questions


Who notifies social security when someone dies?

Notify Social Security as soon as possible when someone getting benefits dies. In most cases, the funeral director will report the person’s death to Social Security. Give the funeral director the deceased’s Social Security number so he or she can report the death.


How much is Social Security death benefits?

The Social Security Administration provides death benefits to survivors, including a one-time $255 payment to the deceased's spouse or dependent children. The benefit usually goes to the spouse who was living with the deceased at the time of death. If a person is already claiming spousal benefits at the time their spouse dies, that person does not need to submit a separate application for the lump-sum Social Security death benefit. The $255 will automatically be credited.


Who Is Eligible for a Social Security Death Benefit?

Ongoing Monthly Survivor Benefit. Surviving spouses and dependents of insured workers are eligible for monthly payments if they meet certain criteria.

Spouses. ...

Ex-Spouses. ...

Children. ...

Other Beneficiaries. ...

Benefit Amounts. ...

Lump-Sum Death Benefit. ...


Do you keep Social Security payment in month of death?

Do you have to pay back social security when someone dies?

To be eligible for a month Social Security recipient must have survived the entire month to be entitled to the payment. Even if death occurs on the last day of a month, the deceased is not due Social Security benefits for the month of death and payment for that month, if received, must be returned. With Social Security, each payment received represents the previous month's benefits. So, if a person dies in January, the check for that month — which would be paid in February — would need to be returned if received. If the payment is made by direct deposit, the bank holding the account should be notified so it can return benefits sent after the person's death.


Can I keep both mine and my spouse Social Security when my spouse dies?

If you already receive benefits as a spouse, your benefit will automatically convert to survivors benefits after receiving the report of death. If you are also eligible for retirement benefits (but haven't applied yet), you have an additional option. You can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other (higher) benefit later. For those already receiving retirement benefits, you can only apply for benefits as a widow or widower if the retirement benefit you receive is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor.

Memorial Funeral Home
Phone: (908) 322-4350
155 South Avenue, Fanwood, NJ 07023

Laura E. Mann, Executive Director, NJ Lic. No. 4947

Thomas M. Keiser, Jr., Owner, NJ Lic. No. 3844

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