In the 1930s Franklin D Roosevelt created a lump sum death benefit, which today is the very same amount the Social Security Administration offers to a surviving spouse or child under the age of 18. Upon one’s death, we immediately notify the Social Security Administration with the necessary form they require, as well as supply the family with information benefits and how they may affect monthly checks.

How To Apply for Benefits
You may apply for benefits by telephone or by going to any Social Security Office. Some of the documents & information you may need are outlined below. You should begin the application process without delay. This will enable you to determine the documents you have and which documents you may need to obtain. Your Social Security Office can help you with this.

Information Needed
You will need to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing office. You can bring them to the Social Security Office or mail them. If mailed, a certified return receipt requested is advised. Social Security will make photo copies and return your documents to you.

  • Your Social Security Number & the deceased worker’s Social Security Number.
  • A death certificate – we can advise you on this.
  • Proof of the deceased worker’s earnings for the last year. (W-2 forms or self-employment tax return.)
  • Your birth certificate.
  • A marriage certificate – if you are applying for benefits as a widow, widower, divorced wife, or divorced husband.
  • A divorce decree – if you are applying for benefits as a divorced wife or husband.
  • Children’s birth certificates & SS #’s – if applying for children’s benefits.
  • A checking or savings account number – if you elect direct deposit of SS benefits. You will also need the bank’s address and transit number.
  • A $255.00 Lump Sum Death Benefit is available to a surviving spouse. Marriage License/Death Certificate required. Minor children eligible if no surviving spouse.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you are 65 or older, disabled, or blind, ask the Social Security representative about the Supplemental Society Income (SSI) checks for people with limited income & resources. If you receive SSI, you may qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, and other social services.

For More Information
Write, visit, or telephone any Social Security Office. The toll-free-number is 1-800-772-1213. You can speak with a representative 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. New Haven Office: 150 Court St. (866) 331-5281

A Reminder
If a person dies in the closing days of the month, the family would not be entitled to keep the check which arrives from the Social Security Administration on the 3rd day of the following month.


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