Social Security Benefits: What Happens if Someone Passes Away?

Social Security Benefits After Death

Although it’s never easy to think about a loved one passing away, it’s important to be prepared and informed if and when this unfortunate event takes place.

If someone who is receiving Social Security benefits passes away, the Social Security Administration should be notified in a timely manner. Even when you’re aware of the need to do so, dealing with details like this can be difficult to handle while you’re grieving over the loss of a loved one. That’s why this task is often handled by a funeral director.

When you fill out the funeral home’s paperwork, there will be a field for your family member’s social security number. There may also be a checkbox asking whether or not they were receiving social security benefits. If you don’t see this check box, tell the director your loved one was receiving SSA benefits, and he will often take care of the paperwork required for notifying the SSA. If your funeral director does not handle notifying Social Security for you, make sure you contact your local Social Security field office to do so yourself.

Why Is It so Important to Promptly Notify the Social Security Administration?

It is important that SSA be notified in a timely manner of your loved one’s death because you or other family members may be entitled to receive additional social security benefits.

IThe Social Security Administration offers a one-time payment of $255 for a spouse who was living with the individual who passed away. It’s also possible for one or more family members to receive monthly benefits:

  • A widow(er) may be eligible if he or she is over 50 and disabled, over 60, or caring for a child who’s under the age of 16.
  • A child may be eligible if he is under 18, under 19 and in secondary school, or over 18 with a disability that started before he turned 22.
  • One or both parents can receive benefits if they are over 62 and the child who passed away provided the parents with at least half of their monthly income.

Although it’s less common than the above situations, an adopted child, step-grandchild, grandchild, stepchild or divorced spouse may also qualify for monthly benefits.

Do Payments Need to Be Returned?

If any payments to a deceased person are received after that person passes away, the payments need to be returned to SSA. Since it can take a little time for everything to be processed, it’s fairly common for one or two additional payments to be sent after the passing of a loved one.

The method of return will depend on how the payment was issued. If it’s by check, not only will you want to avoid depositing the check, but you’ll also want to actually mail it back to the SSA. If it’s a direct deposit, simply get in touch with the bank and let them know the payment needs to be returned.

If you have any additional questions about benefits you may be owed, you can discuss your situation with Lisa M. Ritacco by calling 877-459-4799 or contacting her online today.