Social Security Death Benefits
Social Security Administration 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
- A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceaseds child under age 16 or disabled
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 or age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22
- A stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild or adopted child under certain circumstances
- Parents, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support
- A surviving divorced spouse
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 if they meet certain requirements.
To obtain the form to apply for lump-sum death benefit, visit
How to Apply For Benefits
If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, it is important to 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 survivors benefits:
If You Are The Survivor
Just as you plan for your family’s protection if you die, you should consider the Social Security benefits that may be available if you are the survivor that is, the spouse, child, or parent of a worker who dies. That person must have worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits.
How Your Spouse Earns Social Security Survivors Benefits
A worker can earn up to four credits each year. In 2021, for example, your spouse can earn one credit for each $1,470 of wages or self-employment income. When your spouse has earned $5,880, they have earned their four credits for the year.
The number of credits needed to provide benefits for survivors depends on the worker’s age when they die. No one needs more than 40 credits to be eligible for any Social Security benefit. But, the younger a person is, the fewer credits they must have for family members to receive survivors benefits.
Benefits can be paid to the worker’s children and the surviving spouse who is caring for the children even if the worker doesn’t have the required number of credits. They can get benefits if the worker has credit for one and one-half years of work in the three years just before their death. Each persons situation is different and you need to talk to a Social Security claims representative about your choices.
Survivors Benefits For Spouses
A deceased individual’s current or former spouse is eligible to receive Survivors Benefits in any of the following situations.
- Surviving spouse 60+
- Disabled surviving spouse 50+
- Surviving spouse or-ex spouse of any age responsible for the care of the deceased individual’s biological or legally adopted child under 16
- Surviving spouse or-ex spouse of any age responsible for the care of the deceased individual’s disabled biological or legally adopted child of any age
- Surviving ex-spouse 60+ who was married to the individual at least 10 years and did not remarry before turning 60
- Disabled surviving ex-spouse 50+ who was married to the individual at least 10 years and did not remarry before turning 50
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Who Gets Someones Social Security When They Die
Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings. You may receive survivors benefits when a family member dies. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.
How The Money Is Paid
Funeral Expenses Payment is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account if youve already paid for the funeral.
The money will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral if you have not paid yet.
To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions about the death straight away.
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Documents You Might Be Asked To Provide
- birth certificate or other prove of birth such as ID or driving license
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship
- U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968
- W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for the last year
- The death certificate of the deceased worker
In order to help speed up the processing of your application, you must be aware of the documents you might be asked to provide when you apply and prepare any possible questions you might be asked. Any missing information will slow down your application request.
Note that SSA only accepts photocopies of W-2 Forms and self-employment tax returns, all the other documents presented must be in their original form.
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How To Apply For Social Security Death Benefits
If you need to apply for the Social Security funeral benefit, you must fill out form SSA-8, from the Social Security Administration. This form is available from your local Social Security Administration office. You can also fill out the form by phone at 772-1213. Before getting in touch with the SSA, be prepared to present these documents:
- Proof of birth, such as an original birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship
- Pre-1968 military discharge papers
- Any current W-2 forms
- A verified copy of the death certificate
As the claimant, you may also have to answer a few questions to establish your own eligibility to claim the benefit. Be prepared to provide your name, address, relationship to the deceased and other information, such as your Social Security number. Remember that, if you are the next of kin of a Social Security beneficiary who has passed, you must not cash their last pension check, but return it in full to the SSA.
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How Does Ssa Know When Someone Dies
When a Social Security beneficiary dies , the death is usually reported to SSA by a family member, a funeral home, or a government agency. If paid by check, family members should not cash any checks received for the month the person dies or later. They should return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible.
How To Apply For Funeral Benefits From Social Security
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. Applying for the benefit is quick and easy if you have all the necessary paperwork and information gathered ahead of time.
Report the death to the Social Security Administration. Check with the funeral director to see if this service is provided, as many funeral homes complete this report as part of their services packages.
Obtain a copy of the deceased’s death certificate from your funeral home or from the county’s Office of Vital Statistics.
Return any benefits the deceased received after their death. In most cases, the Social Security Administration will not release the death benefit if there is an outstanding account balance.
Gather, along with the death certificate, the deceased’s Social Security number, the current and previous year’s tax returns or W-2s and the deceased’s birth certificate. You’ll also need proof of citizenship if the deceased wasn’t born in the United States.
Take these documents to your local Social Security Administration office in person or call the Social Security Administration to speak to a representative about mailing or faxing the documents.
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The Basics About Survivors Benefits
. If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of those taxes you pay are for survivors benefits. Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings.
. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.
For more information, please read .
This Is How Social Security Benefits Are Handled At Death
- Using someone else’s Social Security benefits after they die is a federal crime.
- Funeral homes often alert the government when someone passes away.
- Depending on the situation, survivors benefits may be available.
There is a lot to deal with when a loved one passes away.
On top of the emotional aspect of handling death, there is the financial stuff which would include any Social Security benefits the deceased was receiving.
You may wonder how the government knows to stop sending that monthly money or whether a surviving spouse or dependent can keep some sort of payment going.
Social Security rules can be complicated. Yet the bottom line is that the decedent’s benefits stop at death. For survivors, how to get benefits or whether you qualify depends on several factors .
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First, though, it’s important for the Social Security Administration to be alerted as soon as possible after the person dies.
In most cases, funeral homes notify the government. There’s a form available that those businesses use to report the death.
“The person serving as executor or the surviving spouse can also call Social Security,” said certified financial planner Peggy Sherman, a lead advisor at Briaud Financial Advisors in College Station, Texas.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind. For starters, a person is due no Social Security benefits for the month of their death.
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How Social Security Can Pay For Funeral Costs
7/26/2021 | BySeniors Guide Staff
Though funeral fees can become extremely costly for the family of the deceased. However, it is possible to use some Social Security to pay for funeral costs. We discuss Social Security death benefits and other ways to help cover funeral service fees, including survivor benefits.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association statistics, the average cost of a funeral in the United States, including a vault, is over $9,000. That figure does not include cemetery fees, the price of a monument, flowers, or an obituary. And while choosing cremation can lower the funeral costs, you can still expect to pay around $6,500 on average.
Paying funeral expenses can be a burden for many families. While families may have no legal responsibility to pay these costs, they often pay them in the absence of enough money in the deceased persons estate.
Many older adults have a life insurance policy in place or have pre-paid their funeral costs, relieving their heirs of the financial burden. And many estates are substantial enough to pay for any final expenses quickly.
While there might be funeral assistance from state and local governments, anyone looking to Social Security to pay for funeral costs will likely be quite disappointed.
Do I Need To Report A Medicare Beneficiarys Death
You will need to report a Medicare beneficiarys death whether they had been receiving Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
Receiving benefits meant for someone who has died is considered fraud, and you should notify Social Security of a death as soon as possible.
Have the deceased persons Social Security number ready and call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to report the death.
The funeral home you use can often handle contacting Medicare and Social Security to report the death if you give them the Social Security number.
A death must also be reported to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board if the deceased person had been receiving benefits. A RRB representative can be reached at 1-877-772-5772.
How To Apply For The Social Security Death Benefit After A Family Member Passes Away
You can apply for the $255 lump-sum payment by phone or by visiting a local Social Security office.
To apply for the Social Security Death Benefit by phone youll need to call 800.772.1213.
You can also visit any Social Security office in your area to learn more about this death benefit. You can find the nearest Social Security office to you by visiting the Social Security website. From here you can type your zip code into the search to see a listing of Social Security offices close to you.
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To Receive Your Benefits Please Provide All Of This Information:
- application form
- Social Insurance Number and Saskatchewan Health Services number â if you do not have a valid HSN, please provide verification that you have applied
- information about your spouse/partner or children, including their SIN and HSN
- income information, such as pay stubs
- documents about your living situation, such as a rental agreement
- a bank account in your name
- any money you already have, including cash, savings, investments, RRSPs, GICs, etc.
- details of items you own, such as property and vehicles and,
- any other benefits and/or pensions you are receiving.
The Service Level Screening must also be completed over the phone within 30 days of submitting your application. This screening helps us determine how we can best help you.
Full Retirement Age For Survivors Born In 1962 Or Later: 67
The earliest a widow or widower can start receiving Social Security survivors benefits based on age is age 60.
If you start receiving survivors benefits at age
- 60, you will get 71.5 percent of the monthly benefit because you will be getting benefits for an additional 84 months.
- 62, you will get 79.6 percent of the monthly benefit because you will be getting benefits for an additional 60 months.
- 65, you will get 91.9 percent of the monthly benefit because you will be getting benefits for an additional 24 months.
If you’re receiving widows, widowers, or divorced widows or widowers benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62.
Reminder: Your full retirement age for retirement benefits may not match your full retirement age for survivors benefits.
How Your Social Security Survivors Benefit is Reduced
|If you start getting benefits at age1.||The survivors benefit you will receive is reduced to2.|
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Social Security Death Benefit
A surviving spouse or dependent child may be entitled to a lump-sum death benefit from the Social Security Administration if the decedent worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. At the time of publication, the one-time benefit amount was $255, although it is subject to change. The payment is designed to help with the funeral expenses or other related costs.
Generally, the surviving spouse will receive the benefit if living in the same household when the spouse died. A surviving spouse living in a separate household at the time of death can receive the benefit if during the month the decedent died the spouse was already receiving benefits on the worker’s record, or became eligible for survivor benefits upon the worker’s death. If there is no surviving spouse, a child may qualify. The surviving spouse or child must apply for this payment within two years of the date of death.
Who Can Get Survivor Benefits
Here is a list of family members who usually can get benefits: Widows and widowers age 60 or older. Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceaseds child who are under age 16 or disabled. Divorced wives and husbands age 60 or older, if married to the deceased 10 years or more. Widows, widowers, divorced wives, and divorced husbands age 50 or older, if they are disabled. Children up to age 18. Children age 18 19, if they attend elementary school or high school full time. Children over age 18, if they became disabled before age 22. The deceased workers parents age 62 or older, if they were being supported by the worker.
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What About Social Security Survivors Benefits
The one-time payment of a funeral grant is not to be confused with ongoing Social Security survivors benefits. Survivors benefits are a continuation of the deceased beneficiarys regular monthly payments to support any dependents who are left without their support. While SSA death benefits are available to surviving spouses and children, survivors benefits are open to:
- A surviving spouse aged 60 and up, or age 50 if theres a qualifying disability
- A surviving spouse of any age who is left in care of a minor child under age 16. Children over 16 may also qualify if they have a disability.
- Unmarried minor children of the beneficiary up to age 18, or up to age 19 if they are full-time students
- Adult children of the beneficiary who are over the age of 18, but who have a permanent disability that began before age 22
- Parents of the beneficiary who were dependent on the beneficiary for at least 50% of their financial support
- Divorced former spouses, though some restrictions apply to their eligibility
Survivor benefits continue to be paid on a monthly basis for as long as the recipient is eligible. These funds may be spent like any income, but they generally dont have to be treated as income for many means tests or tax purposes. Always consult with a financial planner about how to report Social Security benefits as income.