topic | first days after death
Step 10: notify social security
This notification meets two SSA requirements:
- Stops beneficiary payments.
- Determines survivor benefit eligibility for a surviving spouse or child. Learn more at: www.socialsecurity.gov/survivorplan/ifyou.htm.
A one-time payment of $255 can be claimed by the surviving spouse. The spouse must have been living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment can be claimed by a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death.
Access the decedent’s personal information including their Social Security Number and the date of death. Personal Information may contain necessary information.
Contact Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit a local office. The Social Security Administration should have received confirmation of the death from your funeral home. This is done to minimize fraud from people not alerting Social Security of a death and continuing receive benefits.
Social Security Insurance is paid in advance. Funds paid in the month of the death must be returned.
Determine how Social Security Insurance was distributed.
- Checkbook registers or bank statements may indicate whether benefits were directly deposited or cashed checks.
- Social Security documents may also indicate the method of payment and dates of funds received.
If payments were directly deposited (most common):
- Call or visit the receiving bank. Request that funds be returned to the Social Security Administration.
- The request may be done by mail. Include a cover letter documenting the date of death, the decedent’s Social Security Number, address, and contact information for the executor. Request a receipt, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
- Be prepared to provide a death certificate.
If the decedent was paid by check:
- Do not cash checks received for the month that death occurred or for following months.
- Return the uncashed check(s) or write a check for the payment amount from the estate checking account if the check has already been cashed.
- Return the payment to the local Social Security office. Check for the listing in the local phone directory or online at www.ssa.gov.
- The check may be returned by mail. Include a cover letter documenting the date of death, the decedent’s Social Security Number, address, and contact information for the executor. Request a receipt, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
You are well on your way in managing the practical matters of the estate. Your organization and attention to detail will pay off!
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