How Is a Death Reported for Social Security Purposes?


Quick Answer

Report the death of a person who receives Social Security benefits by phoning a number listed on the SSA.gov website or visiting the local office in person, advises the Social Security Administration. Alternatively, give the decedent's Social Security number to the funeral home and ask it to report the death. Social Security does not accept death reports or survivor's benefits applications online.

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Full Answer

If you already receive Social Security benefits on the decedent's record, you do not need to apply for survivor's benefits, explains the Social Security Administration. When it receives the death report, Social Security automatically converts your standard monthly benefits to survivor's benefits and sends the lump sum death payment if you are eligible for it. If you do not already receive Social Security benefits, apply as soon as possible for survivor's benefits, because you may not receive retroactive payments. If you cannot promptly provide all necessary documents, sign up anyway, because Social Security assists you in obtaining the information.

Documents you may need to sign up for survivor's benefits include the worker's death record, your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, marriage certificate and relevant tax records, according to the Social Security Administration. If applicable, you may also need your military discharge records and divorce certificate. A Social Security employee may ask you for personal details to confirm your eligibility status.

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