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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

After my mother died, I found uncashed Social Security checks that had been issued to her. Can we cash them?

En español | No. Federal law requires that Social Security checks be cashed or deposited within one year of the date of issue. Uncashed checks are void after that time.

The Treasury Department has a process for filing a claim for replacement of amounts due a deceased beneficiary. But this wouldn’t work for you because the claim must be submitted within six years of the check’s issue.

In any case, you couldn’t legally cash checks made out to your mother and pocket the money. By law, the money would belong to your mother’s estate. If the estate had already gone through probate, there are legal procedures for reopening the probate to distribute the money to the proper heirs.


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