Social Security Benefits

Social Security Death Benefits Overview

Certain family members of a decedent may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits provided the deceased person qualified for benefits. Contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA) should be one of the first steps after a person passes away to ensure you receive any benefits to which you may be entitled. The following provides more information about which benefits may be available to you.

Spouse Payment

A lump sum payment one-time payment of $255 may be paid to a surviving spouse of the decedent if the person was living with the deceased at the time of death, or receiving certain SSA benefits on the decedent’s record in the event they were living apart. The payment may also be made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased’s record in the month of their death if there is no surviving spouse to receive the payment.

Family Benefits

In certain situations, family members may be eligible to receive monthly SSA benefits. These situations include:

  • A widow or widower at least 60 years of age (or at least 50 years of age if they are disabled);
  • A surviving spouse who is caring for a child of the decedent who is under the age of 16 or disabled, regardless of the age of the surviving spouse;
  • A child of the deceased who is under 18 years old and unmarried. If the child is a full time student in elementary or secondary school, the age limit is up to 19 years old. The child may also be over 18 years of age if they have a disability that began before age 22.
  • Parents of the decedent who are at least 62 years old and received at least half of their support from the decedent; and
  • A surviving spouse after a divorce, with certain criteria being met.

You can get more information and complete several of these tasks online using the SSA website at There is also a toll free number where SSA staff can help you with specific questions. They are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1-800-772-1213.

Buy Flowers