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Social Security After Death: All You Need To Know

Social Security After Death: All You Need To Know
After a beneficiary's passing, the Social Security Administration should be notified as soon as possible. (Photo:

When a person dies, it doesn’t always mean their Social Security payments stop. Social Security after death checks may still be sent to someone else depending on things like income and the number of people who rely on the person who died.

Social Security After Death: All You Need To Know

(Photo: iStock by Hector)


  • Most of the time, funeral homes tell the government when someone has died.
  • If the person was getting Social Security payments, there is no payment for the month they died.
  • There may be survivor benefits, depending on a number of things.

When a family member who was getting benefits from Social Security after death, you may wonder how the government knows to stop sending that monthly money.

Or, maybe a surviving spouse or child depended on that income and wants to know if they can still get some payment.

Even though Social Security rules can be hard to understand, the bottom line is that when a person dies, their benefits stop. Whether or not you can get benefits as a survivor depends on several things.

According to the Social Security Administration website, if you work and pay into Social Security, some of your taxes go towards survivor benefits. This means that your surviving spouse, children, and even parents could be eligible for payments based on your earnings.

In the same way, you and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of someone else who died, as long as that person worked long enough to qualify for benefits. If there are no survivors or people who depend on you, the payments stop.

The Social Security office should be told right away when someone dies. Usually, the funeral home takes care of this by sending in a form called Statement of Death by Funeral Director.

If that doesn’t happen, you’ll have to call the SSA to report the social security after death or apply for survivor benefits. You can’t do either of those things online.

Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to report a death or apply for survivor benefits to receive benefits from Social Security after death.

When you apply, you’ll need to give the Social Security number of the person who died. If you die, the person who is left behind will need to give your social security number.
CNBC said that the person in charge of the estate could also call Social Security. According to the SSA, here are some things to keep in mind if you are getting benefits from a spouse or parent:

  • As soon as the person died and informed to Social Security after death, it will change any monthly benefits into survivors’ benefits.
  • A Special Lump-Sum Death Payment could be made automatically by the agency.
  • One thing to remember is that there are no social security payments for the month a person dies.

It may not be surprising that it is against the law to use someone else’s benefits from Social Security after death, whether the death was reported or not.

Benefits from Social Security After Death

If the Social Security Administration hears that fraud might be going on, they look into the claim and decide if a criminal investigation is needed. To stop people from lying, the agency compares its records with other government agencies’ records to find social security after death that haven’t been reported.

As for the benefits available to survivors, Sherman said that if a spouse or qualifying dependent was already getting money based on the record of the person who died, the benefit would automatically change to survivors benefits when the government finds out about the social security after death.

“In all other cases, the surviving spouse will need to call Social Security and make an appointment to sign up for survivors benefits,” Sherman said. “This can’t be done online.”

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