How to Notify Social Security of a Death and Request Benefits

Calling Social Security is one way to notify of a family death.

If you have lost a spouse or parent who has contributed to Social Security, you may be eligible to receive survivor benefits. It is best to notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible after the death. Sometimes the funeral director will make the notification, if you provide the deceased's Social Security number. A quick notification ensures that processing will begin as soon as possible for benefits to which you or any other survivors are entitled.

Step 1

Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit your local office to notify them of the death.

Step 2

Get documentation. This may include both of your Social Security numbers; birth, marriage and death certificates; dependent information; tax returns; and bank account details.

Step 3

Request your one-time lump sum death benefit. Under certain provisions, spouses or children are eligible for this one-time payment of $255. Funeral directors are usually familiar with this process and may be able to assist you in filing so you can apply this money toward funeral costs.

Step 4

Request monthly survivor's benefits. Multiple benefits are available based on various qualifications, such as a spouse age 60 or older, a disabled spouse age 50 or older, a spouse caring for dependent children and underage children of the deceased.

references