The following checklist is designed to help you file your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death.
Who May Receive Monthly Benefits
A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years, or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full time).
Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment is paid in the following priority order:
A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
Applying For Benefits
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.