If your family is eligible for Social Security benefits, your funeral director will send the Statement of Death by Funeral Director (Form 721) to the local Social Security office.
Your family must contact the Social Security office to apply for any benefits. Call 800-772-1213 for more information.
If a worker dies, survivor checks can be paid to certain members of the worker's family. A lump sum payment can also be paid, generally $255 for eligible surviving widow, widower or entitled children.
Benefits are available to the following:
Unmarried children under 18 (or under 19 if full-time high school student)
Unmarried son or daughter 18 or over who was severely disabled before 22 and who continues to be disabled
Widow or widower 60 or older
Widow or widower, or surviving divorced mother or father if caring for worker's child under 18 (or disabled) who is getting a benefit based on the earnings of the deceased worker
Widow or widower 50 or older who becomes disabled not later than 7 years after the worker's death, or within 7 years after mother's or father's benefits end
Dependent parents 62 or older
Under certain conditions, children may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on a grandparent's earnings.
Benefits to divorced spouse:
Benefits are payable to a divorced spouse at 62 or over, a surviving divorced spouse at 60 or to a disabled surviving divorced spouse 50 or older if the marriage was in duration of 10 years or more.
A divorced spouse who has been divorced at least 2 years can receive benefits at 62 whether or not her or his former spouse received benefits. The former spouse must be eligible for Social Security benefits regardless of whether he or she has retired. Survivors can get benefits in most cases if the marriage was in duration of at least 9 months.