"The Social Security program ... represents our commitment as a society to the belief
that workers should not live in dread that a disability, death, or old age could leave them or
their families destitute."
- James E. Carter
Social Security Benefits
If you are unable to find the information you are looking on this page, or if you would like more specific information,
the Social Security Website provides a booklet that you can order at www.ssa.gov.
The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so
that prompt payments will be made.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years
depending on his or her age at death.
Who May Receive Monthly Benefits?
- A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
- A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years, or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
- Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full lime).
- Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above.
The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
- A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
- A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
- A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
Applying for Benefits
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone.
The toll-free number is 1-800-772-1213, upon calling an operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local
Social Security office to take your claim by telephone.
Social Security Teleservice - Doing Business By Telephone
You may call Social Security toll-free, 365 days a year, 24 hours a
day. The number to use is 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a
representative, call between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm on regular
business days. At other times and on weekends and holidays, you may
leave a message and they will call you back, in most cases, the next
business day. You may use the toll-free number to make an appointment
either in a Social Security office or telephone to apply for benefits,
transact other Social Security business, or just ask questions.