However, there is a time limit to collect the lump-sum death benefit. This is a one-time payment of $255. To receive this payment, you must file the application (by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visiting your local office) within a two-year period. Normally, this period ends with the second anniversary of the person's death.
[Editor’s note: The Social Security Administration temporarily closed local offices to the public on March 17, 2020, in response to the coronavirus threat. Social Security services remain available online and by phone. We will update this article when the field offices reopen.]
Updated March 17, 2020