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Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit

| June 23, 2021

Social Security provides dis-ability and retirement benefits for eligible workers. However, many people are surprised to find out that there is also a small Social Security death benefit.

A surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255 from Social Security if they meet certain requirements.

In some circumstances, the surviving spouse or child may automatically receive the benefit if they were already receiving some form of benefits based on the deceased worker’s Social Security record.

If neither surviving spouse nor an eligible child were currently receiving benefits from Social Security, they would have up to two years from the date of death to apply for the $255 death benefit.  We recommend visiting the Social Security survivor’s website to gather all necessary documents to avoid any delays in processing.  Survivors can also elect Direct Deposit so that the payment can be sent quicker and safer than a check in the mail. 

To apply, survivors can either visit their local Social Security office, call Social Security directly, or download and submit Form SSA-8 – Application for Lump Sum Death Payment.  Currently, you cannot report a death or apply for survivor’s benefits online.