How to Report a Deceased Person to Social Security

The Social Security Administration pays retirement or disability benefits monthly to individuals who have worked long enough to receive them. Notify the agency as soon as possible when a recipient dies so the agency can update its records and terminate the benefits.

Warning

It is illegal to continue to collect social security payments after the beneficiary's death.

Notifying Social Security

According to the Social Security Administration, the funeral director is the one who typically sends a notification of the death. Give the director the deceased's Social Security number so he can complete the Statement of Death by Funeral Director form.

You can also contact the agency yourself. Call the administration at 800-772-1213 or send a letter. If you do write, include pertinent information about the deceased, such as the full name, Social Security number and date of birth. Also include a copy of the death certificate.

Returning Benefits

Don't cash any Social Security checks that might have arrived for the deceased since the death. This should include the check that arrived in the month the person died. Contact the bank if the deceased was receiving the payments via direct deposit. Have the bank send back any payments received from the month the recipient died. You can call the bank to make the request and then formally notify the bank of the death by sending a letter and a copy of the death certificate.

Social Security Benefits to Survivors

Some members of the deceased's surviving family are eligible for benefits from Social Security if the deceased worked long enough. For instance, the spouse will receive a one-time payment of $255 and could receive monthly benefits if eligible. Other eligible family members include unmarried children, stepchildren, grandchildren, adopted children, parents who are 62 or older and a divorced spouse. Contact the Social Security Administration to find out if you qualify.