Social Security Benefits

How Can Social Security Help My Family?

Social Security survivors’ benefits help ease the financial burden that follows a worker’s death. Almost all children under age 18 will get monthly benefits if a working parent dies. Other family members may be eligible for benefits too.

Anyone who has worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes has been earning Social Security benefits for his or her family. The amount of work needed to pay survivors benefits depends on the worker’s age at the time of death. It may be as little as 1½ years for a younger worker. No one needs more than 10 years.

Who Can Get Survivors’ Benefits?

  • Widows and widowers, age 60 or older
  • Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceased’s chil(ren) who are under the age of 16 or disabled
  • Divorced wives and husbands, age 60 or older, if married to the deceased for 10 years or more
  • Widows, widowers, divorced wives or husbands, age 50 or older, if they are disabled
  • Children up to age 18
  • Children age 18-19 if they attend elementary school or high school full time
  • Children over age 18, if they became disabled before age 22
  • The deceased worker’s parents, age 62 or older, if they were being supported by the worker

How Do I Apply for Benefits?

Snodgrass Funeral Home has notified the Social Security office of the deceased’s passing. The information provided to the Social Security office includes the deceased name, social security number, address, date of birth, date of death and any living spouse’s name, address and phone number. This is simply a notification, and does not make application for benefits. You can apply for benefits by telephone or by going to any Social Security office. You may need to provide the Social Security office with additional documentation as listed below. Do not delay your application if you do not have all the documentation as Social Security may be able to help you get it.

What Information Do I Need to Apply?

  • Your Social Security number and the deceased’s Social Security number
  • A death certificate (the notification from the funeral home may be at all that is needed
  • Proof of the deceased worker’s earnings for last year (W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns)
  • Your birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate, if you are applying for benefits as a widow, widower, divorced wife or divorced husband
  • A divorce decree, if you are applying for benefits as a divorced wife or husband
  • Children’s birth certificates if you are applying for children’s benefits
  • Your checking or savings account information, if you want direct deposit of your benefits
  • You will need to submit original documents or certified copies by the issuing office. Social Security will make photo copies and return your documents to you
A Message from Social Security…

Your Funeral Director is helping the Social Security office by giving this information about Social Security benefits. If the deceased was receiving benefits, you need to contact us to report the death. If you think you may be eligible for survivors’ benefits, you should contact us to apply.

A Reminder…

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any check which arrives after the date of death will need to be returned to the Social Security office. If the Social Security checks were being directly deposited into a bank account, the bank needs to be notified of the death as well.

If you are 65 or older, disabled, or blind, ask the Social Security representative about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks for people with limited income and resources. If you receive SSI, you may also qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, and other social services.