How to Receive a One-Time Death Benefit From Social Security

A one-time death benefit from Social Security allows the spouse of a Social Security claimant to receive a single payment to help cover her expenses after the spouse is gone. In 2010, the one-time death benefit was $255. Prompt claiming of the benefit is important if you wish to receive it in a timely manner. The benefit doesn't have to be used specifically for funeral services – you can use it in any way you want.

Step 1

Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.

Step 2

Explain that the person receiving Social Security payments has died. Ask to be sent a form requesting the one-time survivor's benefit. Ask where you should send proof of the recipient's death.

Step 3

Make a copy of the death certificate, your social security number and your marriage certificate.

Step 4

Fill out the form. Include copies of the requested proof with the form. Mail it to the address on the form or return it to your local Social Security office (see Resources).

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