Death Benefits Application

When a beneficiary dies, it is incumbent upon a family member or upon another person responsible for the beneficiary’s affairs to do the following:

  • Immediately notify Social Security Administration of the beneficiary’s death by calling Social Security Administration’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213.

  • If monthly benefits are being paid via direct deposit, the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiary must be notified that any funds received for the month of death and later be returned to Social Security Administration as soon as possible.

  • If monthly benefits are being paid by check, it is imperative that the checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter must not be encashed but instead it must be returned to the office of Social Security Administration immediately.

Social Security Death Index

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), approximately half a billion dollars in Social Security benefit checks go unrecorded every year. The largest group of individuals to whom such claims are owed to are to the heirs of decedents who have left behind unclaimed assets as well as unclaimed benefits. Although there is no time limit when it comes to a request to reissue a lost check or a check that was not encashed, the Social Security Administration does not exert effort in locating and notifying its owners.

The Social Security Death Index contains essential information on over 72 million persons whose deaths are on file with the Social Security Administration. Said information includes: Social Security Number, date of issuance, State of issuance, date of birth, date of death, last known address, and payment of final benefit. Knowing the Social Security Number of a deceased relative is often necessary to conduct an effective unclaimed asset search and is indeed a requirement in making a claim.

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