The Social Security Act allows for certain relatives to collect payment of survivor’s benefits if they meet any of the qualifying criteria:
Widow (er) age 60 or older.
Widow (er) at any age caring for the deceased’s children under age 16 or disabled.
Widow (er) or divorced spouse age 50 or older if disabled. Children up to age 18 or under age 19 if in high school full time.
Children over age 18, if they became disabled prior to age 22.
Parents of the deceased age 62 or older, if supported by the deceased.
Divorced spouse of the deceased age 60 or older married 10 years or more.
They may be eligible to receive monthly benefits.
If a spouse was living with the deceased at the time that they died, he or she may be eligible for a special one-time payment of $255. If the person lived alone, another relative such as a child may qualify.
Social Security will send a letter to the nearest relative of the deceased, such as a spouse or child, within 30 days of the date of death. It will provide instructions regarding entitled benefits and how to apply. You may apply for these benefits at any Social Security office or over the phone.
If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any checks which arrive after the death must be returned. If benefit checks were being directly deposited, then the bank would also need to be notified.
For questions concerning eligibility, claims and entitled benefits, please contact Social Security directly at:
Social Security Administration 275 Chestnut Street Manchester, NH 03101 (800) 772-1213