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The following checklist is designed to help you file for your 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 one and a half years to 10 years depending on his or her age at death.
Who May Receive Monthly Benefits
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:
1. A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
2. A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
3. 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. Social Security Teleservice is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. If you would like to speak with a representative, call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. At other times and on weekends and holidays, you may leave a message and they will call you back, in most cases, the next business day.