Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Highlights

Open

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Commented

Social Security Mailbox

Who Is Eligible to Receive the Social Security Death Benefit?

The $255 could go to a surviving spouse or child

En español | Q. I know Social Security pays a $255 death benefit to the family of a person who dies. Who exactly is eligible to receive this? And how do you apply?

A. The death benefit is a lump sum, paid upon the death of a person who worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. It goes to a surviving spouse who was living in the person's household at the time of death, or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record.

See also: Social Security survivor benefits.

If there's no eligible spouse, the $255 may go to a child who is eligible for benefits on the person's record in the month of death. No qualifying recipient means no payment — it cannot, for example, go to the funeral home. To apply, call 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office.

Also of interest: Top 25 Social Security questions. >>

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Your Work

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

Explore Your Learning Possiblities