How to Notify Social Security of the Death of a Beneficiary

By Anna Assad

A disabled person or retired worker may receive Social Security benefits. The money is paid monthly to the beneficiary, with the amount based on many factors, including how long the person worked. If a loved one who was receiving Social Security benefits dies, the surviving family, such as a spouse, is responsible for reporting the death to the Social Security Administration. If you fail to report the death and continue to receive the deceased's benefits, you may face legal action by the administration.

A disabled person or retired worker may receive Social Security benefits. The money is paid monthly to the beneficiary, with the amount based on many factors, including how long the person worked. If a loved one who was receiving Social Security benefits dies, the surviving family, such as a spouse, is responsible for reporting the death to the Social Security Administration. If you fail to report the death and continue to receive the deceased's benefits, you may face legal action by the administration.

Step 1

Contact the Social Security Office at 800-772-1213. The line is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week; the same hours apply regardless of which time zone you are calling from. Have the deceased beneficiary's Social Security number available when you call.

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Step 2

Contact the deceased's bank to report the death. Banks require proof of death, such as a certified death certificate copy from the local vital statistics bureau. Ask the bank to return any money deposited in the account from Social Security from the month after the beneficiary's death forward. Social Security is one month behind, so if the person died in March, the benefit from March would be paid in April. Since the person died in March, you must return the money received in April for March.

Step 3

Return uncashed checks from the beneficiary's death month or later to the local Social Security field office. Visit the official website of the Social Security Administration to locate the field office for the deceased person's address.

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