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.

•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 check 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 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 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 minor or dependent 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:

Survivors Benefits (Publication No. 05-10084)

Social Security: Understanding the Benefits (Publication No. 05-10024)


 For more information you may visit the Social Security Administration’s Web site at or

Disclaimer: This information is meant to help guide you in beginning the process of applying for SSA survivor benefits, if eligible. It is not meant to replace SSA information and does NOT imply or guarantee eligibility for benefits. Only an authorized SSA employees can determine eligibility.