Most of the time funeral homes alert the Social Security office of a person’s death. In the rare event that an alert fails to occur, Social Security will need proof of death to pay the lump sum death payment of $255. You will also want to take along with you your marriage certificate to show the date of marriage.
If a child’s claim needs to be filed on the deceased’s behalf, take along any proof of relationship such as the child’s birth certificate or paternity test results.
The one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 is payable to:
- A surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased person's record; or
- If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased person's record in the month of death.
If no spouse or child meeting these requirements exists, the lump-sum death payment will not be paid. The lump-sum death payment cannot be paid to funeral homes or estates for funeral expenses.