A Brief Overview of the Social Security Death Benefits

Social Security Death Benefits
Social Security death benefit refers to the payments that the survivors of a deceased individual are entitled to. This payment is out of the amount paid by an individual towards Social Security throughout the years one worked. Read on to get an insight...
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2018
In the US, mandatory by law everyone to pay Social Security, which is a social insurance program and run by the Social Security Administration. On retirement or met with a disability due to which you cannot work, the benefits are paid out to the person who paid in. Following the present rules, if one dies, his survivors can claim Social Security benefits.
Eligibility For Social Security Death Benefits.
● Dependent parents who are 62 years of age or older.

● Disabled children of any age.

● Widow or widower who is 60 years or older.

● Widow or widower who is 50 years or older and is disabled.

● Widow or widower of any age who is taking care of a child who is 16 years old or younger.
● Unmarried children who are less than 19 years old and are still in high school.

● Adopted children, step children and grandchildren, however, the circumstances vary with them.
Special Cases
Social Security death benefits can also be received by a working widow or widower. However, the amount may be reduced in case the surviving spouse earns above a certain amount. In case of a divorced spouse, if she/he marries and is still married, then the surviving spouse will not be allowed to receive death benefits on behalf of the former partner.
However, in case a couple was married for over ten years, and the widow or widower is above the age of 60, or more than 50 and disabled, such a surviving spouse qualifies for the death benefits for the deceased spouse.
Factors Deciding the Amount
One of the factors that decides whether or not the survivors of the deceased can receive the death benefits is the number of years that the individual had been working. Usually the survivors are entitled to for death benefits for Social Security if the deceased had been working for at least ten years.
The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on how much you earned during your lifetime. Obviously, the more your earned, the more will be the benefit. This is the major criteria for deciding the amount.
Other criteria include the age of the survivor (older than retirement or not) and the relationship of the survivor (parents, spouse, children, grandchildren) to the person deceased. The Social Security department releases an annual Social Security statement that contains an estimate of the death benefits.
Correct estimates for death benefits can be obtained by using the benefit calculators on the official website of the Social Security department.
Since these death benefits depend upon a number of factors that are not under the control of an individual, the best that one can do so that his survivors do not have any problem in claiming for the death benefits is to ensure that all his financial information is up-to-date.
One-Time Payment
If an individual had been working for long enough, in some cases a one-time death payment of $255 may be received by only the spouse or the minor children of the deceased. However, there are certain criteria that the spouse and the children should meet in order to qualify for the payments.
Application Process
You also need to remember that if anyone in your family receiving Social Security has expired, it is your duty to inform the Social Security Administration immediately. This can help confirm if you are eligible for survivor benefits and also help you stay out of trouble, as using the Social Security of a deceased person is illegal.
Survivors can apply for the benefits online through the official website of the Social Security department, over the phone by calling their toll-free number, or by visiting the local Social Security Office.
While filing for the death benefits for your spouse, you might require the following information:

● Your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, place of residence.

● The full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, and location of death of the deceased.

● Your citizen status.

● Your military status.
● Your earnings for last year, this year, and an estimate of next year.

● The deceased person's earnings for the year of death and the year before.

● Marriage dates for both you and the deceased (this includes previous marriage dates for both).

● Information about previous Social Security benefits and claims, if any.
Even if you do not have all the information, do not delay in filing a claim. The Social Security department will help you get all the information and documents required. Take original copies of all your documents.
Although everyone pays Social Security, not all are aware of the fact that they are eligible for the death benefits. It helps to keep one's accounts and financial records in pace so that one survivors do not have to face problems in their application.