Social Security Benefits

There are a few benefits available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) which may be available to family members of the deceased. We strongly recommend reaching out to SSA promptly to determine if you may be eligible to collect benefits. Here is some brief information about the possible benefits which may be available:


Certain family members may be entitled to collect monthly benefits on the decedent's SSA account, including:

  • A surviving spouse if they are age 60 or older, or at 50 or older if disabled;
  • Any surviving spouse of any age who is caring for a child of the deceased, if the child is under 16 years old or has a disability;
  • A child of the deceased who is under 18 years old provided they are unmarried, age 18 or 19 if they are a full time student in elementary or secondary school, or age 18 or older if the child has a disability that was documented before the child turned 22 years old.
  • Parents of the deceased who are at least 62 years old if they were financially dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support; and
  • A divorced former spouse of the deceased may be eligible in certain circumstances.

Lump-Sum Death Payment

A one time lump-sum death payment of $255 may be paid to an eligible surviving spouse, provided they were living with the deceased at the time of death or receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s record if they were living apart. If there is no surviving spouse to collect, the payment may be made to an eligible child of the deceased. The child must have been entitled to receive benefits on the deceased’s SSA record during the month of death to receive the lump-sum payment.

Applying for Benefits

There is an abundance of additional information available on the SSA website, including the forms you need to begin the application process.

If you have additional questions about possible benefits, SSA can also be reached via their toll-free number. They can help answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-800-772-1213, or online at There is also a 24 hour a day automated phone system that may be able to provide the information you need.