The death benefit Social Security provides is a small, one-time lump sum payment. It’s given to a single survivor of someone who received Social Security benefits at the time of their death. While it can provide a little financial relief for your loved ones after you die, it’s not enough to pay all of your funeral costs and other final expenses on its own.
What Is the Social Security Lump Sum Death Payment?
The death benefit Social Security pays is a $255 one-time lump sum payment. It’s paid out after the death of a Social Security recipient is reported, their benefits have stopped, and any funds owed to the SSA have been paid back.
Who Is Eligible for the Death Benefit from the Social Security Administration?
The surviving spouse is the primary person eligible to receive the Social Security death benefit. If the person who died wasn’t married or their spouse died before them, the payment goes to one of their children. If there isn’t a surviving spouse or child, no death benefit is awarded, even if there are other surviving family members or partners.
How to Apply for the Lump Sum Death Benefit from the SSA
To apply for the death benefit Social Security pays out, follow these steps:
- Ask the funeral home providing your loved one’s services to report the death to the Social Security Administration. Funeral homes often report deaths to the SSA, and asking them to take care of this for you can take one thing off your checklist of things to do when a spouse or loved one dies and ensure the death is reported in a timely manner. You need to give the funeral home your loved one’s Social Security number for them to make the report.
- Report the death to the SSA yourself. Even if the funeral home contacts the SSA, it’s a good idea to follow up with the Administration after a few days to make sure it was done. You can’t report the death online. You need to visit your local SSA office to make the report in person or call 800-772-1213 to report the death over the phone.
- Return any Social Security benefits payments received after your loved one died. Any money that was received during or after the month they died needs to be returned to the SSA.
Does Social Security pay a death benefit?
Who receives the Social Security death benefit?
The benefit usually goes to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, one of the children of the person who died receives it. These are the only two types of people eligible for the Social Security death benefit. If there is no surviving spouse or child, no payment is made.
What does the death benefit from Social Security pay for?
The money can be used any way the surviving family member wants to. The benefit’s purpose is to help pay for funeral costs and other final expenses, but once it’s paid out, the recipient is free to use it however they need to.
Is the Social Security death benefit the same as survivor benefits?
The death benefit is different than Social Security survivor benefits. While the death benefit is a one-time $255 payment, many widows and widowers are eligible for ongoing funds from the SSA. In some cases, other family members are eligible for survivor benefits, including ex-spouses, parents, stepchildren, and grandchildren. When reporting your loved one’s death, ask if you’re eligible for survivor benefits so you can claim them as soon as possible.
The death benefit Social Security provides is a small way to help pay the costs that arise after someone dies. Of course, $255 isn’t nearly enough to pay for a funeral, medical bills, and other final expenses we leave behind. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider other options to ease your loved ones’ financial worries after you pass away, like burial insurance. Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage is the leader in final expense insurance. Contact us for a free quote.