List of Guidelines for Social Security Death Benefits

When a taxpayer dies, his eligible dependents can claim the deceased’s social security death benefits provided that the dependents take the right steps and submitted the required documents. Here are some guidelines that dependents can follow in case the provider of the family dies.

What to Do When the Wage Earner Dies

If you are the widow or widower, the child not older than 18 years of age, or the dependent parent, do the following steps:

  • Inform the Social Security Administration of the person's death as soon as possible by calling toll free number 1-800-772-1213
  • Prepare the original or certified copies of the necessary documents and information required by the SSA when claiming the benefits
  • Apply the Social Security death benefits through phone or personally in your SSA's local office
  • Wait for the decision of your claim
  • File an appeal if you do not agree the SSA's decision of your claim

Required Documents

You need to secure original or certified copies of the following documents to apply the death benefits:

  • Taxpayer's death certification
  • Social security number of the dependent and the deceased wage earner
  • Social security numbers and birth certificates of children if any
  • Dependent's birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if the dependent is the spouse)
  • Most recent W-2 of the deceased or income tax return if self-employed
  • Dependent's bank account information


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