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Social Security Benefits

When someone in your immediate family passes away, you may have the right to financial aid from the government. Two key sources of aid are survivor’s benefits, listed here, and veteran’s benefits.

Survivor’s Benefits

Survivor’s benefits are paid every month to eligible family members. Also, if eligible, a one-time death payment of approximately $255 may be made. The amount of the monthly benefit depends on the deceased’s average lifetime earnings. The more he or she earned, the more the paid benefits will be.

Inform Social Security about the death

It is important that you phone Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 as soon after your loved one’s death as possible. You cannot report a death via their website.

Apply for your survivor’s benefits

Even if you are entitled to survivor’s benefits, you must still apply for them. They won’t be paid to you automatically. Simply call the toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 or go to your local Social Security office. An appointment isn’t necessary, but it could save you a lot of wasted time.

Be prepared by having as much information to hand as possible (e.g. birth, marriage and death certificates), whether you choose to call or to go to your local office in person. A complete list of information required to claim survivor’s benefits is available on the website of the Social Security Administration.

Those who may receive monthly benefits:

A widow or widower 60 years or older (50 if disabled) and still caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled, or

An ex-wife or husband 60 years or older (50-59 if disabled) and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, or you are caring for your child, who is:

Younger than age 16 or disabled and is your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child, or

An unmarried child under 18 or 19 years (22 if disabled), or

A dependent parent aged 62 years or older, and

The deceased made sufficient Social Security contributions.

A complete list of eligible claimants is available on the website of the Social Security Administration.

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