Who is eligible for a lump sum death benefit?
When a Social Security insured worker passes away surviving spouses can also receive the lump sum death benefit, as well as the SSA's survivor benefits.
The lump sum death benefit is a one-time payment where close relatives of the deceased person receive an amount of $255. This has nothing to do with survival benefits administered by the Social Security Administration, which are the continuous checks aimed at spouses, ex spouses, children and, in rare cases, parents.
Who is eligible for the Lump Sum Social Security benefit?
Only the widowed spouse or child of the beneficiary is eligible to receive the $255 death payment, with the widowed spouse having priority over the children as long as they are eligible for the payment.
Spouses are eligible for the payment if they lived in the same household as the worker at the moment of their death.
In the case the spouse of the deceased doesn't meet any of the criteria mentioned above or has also passed away, the children will be the next in line to collect the money.
For children to be eligible to claim the payment they must be unmarried and under 18 (19 in some cases if the child is still in high school) or a disabled adult.
How do I apply for a Lump Sum Death Payment?
In order to apply for a Social Security Lump Sum Death Payment the process will be entirely in person, no online option is available. Eligible claimants must call the SSA's national toll-free service on 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit their local office.
Despite not needing an appointment, SSA officials recommend to call the SSA number and schedule an appointment to prevent people from waiting to apply.
In order to learn what documents and questions you will be asked for, visit the SSA official website.