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. You can find more information about the available benefits and how to apply for them here https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/ifyou.html#h1. We are also always available to help direct you to the appropriate resource if you want additional assistance.
Monthly Survivor Benefits:
If the decedent was receiving monthly Social Security payments at the time of their death, a surviving spouse or family member may be eligible to continue receiving those benefits after their death. The amount is based on what the decedent was eligible for at the time of their death.
Most payments go to a surviving spouse, who is eligible to collect benefits from age 60 (50 if they are disabled). The amount of payment is based on age, and ranges from 71.5% to 100% of what the decedent was entitled to receive. There is an exception to this age requirement if the surviving spouse is caring for a child of the decedent who is under 16 years old or disabled. In those situations there is no minimum age requirement and the payment is 75% of the eligible payment amount.
The following groups may also be potentially eligible to receive survivor benefits:
- Minor and Disabled Children: The child must be under 18 years old, or up to 19 and 2 months if they are still in high school full time, or have a disability dating from before they turned 22. Grandchildren and stepchildren may also qualify. All children must be unmarried to be eligible, and the payment amount will be 75% of the decedent's benefit amount.
- Parents: Parents age 62 or older who were financially dependent on a child who dies may be eligible to receive survivor benefits. The payment amount is 82.5% of the decedent's payment for a single parent, and 75% of the payment amount for two parents.
- Ex-Spouses: A ex-husband or ex-wife can collect survivor benefits in the event that the marriage lasted 10 years or more.
Lump-Sum Death Payment:
A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 is paid to a surviving spouse if they were living with the decedent at the time of death, or if they were receiving benefits on the decedent's SSA record for the month of death in the event they were living apart. The payment can be made to a surviving child if there is not a surviving spouse, provided the child is eligible for benefits for the month of death.