There Are Rules for Social Security When Someone Dies
The Importance of Reporting a Death to Social Security
“When a loved one passes away, there are usually various arrangements that need to be made. One of the tasks to oversee will involve reporting the death to the Social Security Administration.”
Notifying Social Security about a death is one of a handful of must-do’s shortly after a loved one dies. If this task is not done promptly, says U.S. News & World Report in the recent article titled “How to Report a Death to Social Security,” then there may be problems and extra work in the future.
Here are the four steps that need to take place.
Consequences of Failing to Notify Social Security
Steps to Report a Death to the Social Security Administration
Contacting the SSA Directly or Through Local Office
Required Information for Reporting a Death
Understanding Social Security Payments and Death
No Grace Period or Partial Payments
Handling Checks Received for Deceased's Month of Death
If the person dies during March, they won’t be eligible to get benefits for March. They will receive benefits for February, but not for March. It doesn’t matter if they die on the last day in the month or on the first day.
What if you receive a check for the month the person died? Mail the check back to the Social Security Administration. Keep the person’s bank account open, if the deposit is made directly to the account to allow the SSA to retrieve the last payment.
One-Time Social Security Death Benefit
Eligibility for the $255 One-Time Payment
Family Members' Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
If there is no surviving spouse, the death benefit can be sent to a child who is eligible for benefits based on the deceased’s record.
Arranging benefits for family members from Social Security. Depending upon the circumstances, family members may still be eligible to receive benefits. There will be paperwork. The best advice? Don’t delay, as when you apply will impact when benefits begin. Here are the family members who may be eligible for benefits after a death:
Eligible Surviving Spouses
- A disabled widow or widower age 50 and older
- A widow or widower age 60 or older
- A widow or widower of any age caring for a child of the deceased under age 16, who is also disabled.
Eligible Children and Other Dependents
- An unmarried child of the deceased younger than 18, or 19 if they are a full-time student in elementary or secondary school
- A stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild or adopted child in certain circumstances
- An unmarried child with a disability that began before age 22
- Parents who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support who are at least 62
Surviving Divorced Spouses in Certain Cases
Navigating Benefit Options for Surviving Spouses
Combining Survivor's and Own Benefits Strategically
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