At Smith Lund Mills we understand that obtaining survivor benefits are important to the families we serve. To that end, we automatically notify the Social Security Administration regarding the death of all individuals in our care.
The following checklist is designed to help you file for Social Security benefits correctly, so that prompt payments may be made.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death. Those who may receive monthly benefits are:
- A widow or widower age 60 (50 if disabled) or older or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
- A surviving divorced spouse age 60 (50 if disabled) or older if the marriage lasted 10 years or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
- Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time)
- Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
- A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death
- A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
- A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
Applying for Benefits
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213, and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.
When Benefits are Paid
Social Security benefits are always paid in the month after they are due. However, monthly benefits are not paid for the month of death. Entitlement ends in the prior month, payment of which will be made in the death month, no matter what week they were due. If a person dies before the prior month's benefit is received, that payment is still due the deceased person's estate or his or her heirs.
Documents Needed by Survivors
The kinds of information that may be needed to process an application for survivor benefits:
- Proof of death-either from the Funeral Chapel or a death certificate
- The deceased's and the applicant's Social Security numbers
- The survivor's birth certificate
- Marriage certificate if a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse
- Divorce papers if applying as a surviving divorced spouse
- Social Security numbers of dependent children
- The deceased's most recent W-2 Forms or federal self-employment tax return
- Direct deposit information for the survivors, including bank account type/number and routing numbers
We recommend that you make initial contact via telephone with Social Security to help you determine what information and documents will be needed.
Please note that Social Security will request original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them.
Contact Social Security
You may call Social Security toll-free, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The number to use is 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a representative, call between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm on regular business days. At other times, and on weekends and holidays, you may leave a message. Social Security will call you back, in most cases, the next business day.
The toll-free number to make an appointment, either in person at a Social Security office, or by telephone, can also be used to apply for benefits, transact other Social Security business, or just ask questions.
Many of Social Security's applications for benefits are now available online at their website: www.socialsecurity.gov