First you must determine eligibility. The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, anywhere from 1.5 to 10 years depending on his or her age at the time of death.
You may receive monthly benefits if you are any of the below:
- A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or any age if caring for an entitled child under the aged of 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 under the aged of 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 the age of 22, and remain disabled
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
In addition to the monthly benefits mentioned above, a one-time payment of $255 is paid as a lump-sum death payment in the following priority order:
- A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased 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.
To receive benefit, you must apply. Apply by visiting the Social Security office or calling 1‑800‑772‑1213 between the hours of 7:00am to 7:00pm on regular business days. On weekends and holidays, leave a message and they will call you back as soon as possible.