Usually a surviving spouse has a greater claim than a child on Supplemental Security Income death benefits. If there is no surviving spouse and the child either is or becomes eligible for benefits at the worker's death, the child may claim the death benefit.
Even if the surviving spouse does not reside with the worker when the worker dies, the spouse still has the greater claim to the worker's death benefit if the surviving spouse already received benefits based on the worker's record or if the surviving spouse becomes eligible for benefits when the worker dies. The death benefit is not automatic, and a person claiming a death benefit must complete an application. Supplemental Security Income provides income to disabled adults and children who have limited resources.