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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

What is the Social Security Death Benefit?

En español | The death benefit is a lump sum of $255, 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. 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. If there's no qualifying recipient, no payment is made. The benefit cannot, for example, be paid to a funeral home. To apply, call 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office.

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