How to Claim Death Benefits

The death of a wage earner can be emotionally devastating to a family, and it can also add a squeeze on their financial situation. The Social Security Administration provides survivors insurance, also known as "death benefits," to the families of wage earners who have passed away. To qualify his family for death benefits, the wage earner must have worked enough years. The years vary based on age, but according to the SSA, no one needs to work more than 10 years to be eligible. After the wage earner dies, the family must follow procedures to claim death benefits.

Step 1

Be a eligible to receive the benefits. Survivors benefits are available for the surviving spouse of a decedent who worked enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. Unmarried children under 18 are also eligible to receive survivors benefits.

Step 2

Gather the information you need to fill out the survivor benefits application. According to the Social Security Administration, you need the following information: death certificate proving death, Social Security number of the deceased, your Social Security number if you're the spouse, your dependent children's Social Security numbers, your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, W-2s of the deceased worker and bank information for where the benefits can be deposited.

Step 3

Fill out an application to receive survivor benefits. There are multiple ways to do this. You can apply over the phone by calling 800-722-1213, online by visiting the Social Security Administration website (see Resources) or in person by visiting a local Social Security office near your residence. The Social Security Administration website has a Local Office Search page to help you find the closest location to you (see Resources).

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