FAQ on Social Security Death Benefits
Can I file a claim for the amount of $255.00 as one of the death benefits for a sibling?
No. This payment for death benefits is entitled to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death. This can also be made available to a child who, in the month of death, is already eligible for a Social Security benefit based on the worker's Social Security record.
If a person dies before payment is made can payment be collected by the estate?
An underpayment due on behalf of a deceased beneficiary is made payable to the next of kin or to the legal representative of the estate under the following order of priority established by law:
- A spouse who was living with the beneficiary when he or she died or a spouse entitled on the same earnings record on the time of death
- A child entitled on the same earnings record if the spouse is deceased as well
- A parent entitled on the same earnings record of the deceased person
- A spouse not entitled on the same earnings record
- A child not entitled on the same earnings record
- A parent not entitled on the same earnings record or
- A legal representative of the estate if all of the above persons are either already deceased or not qualified.
An underpayment must be paid strictly in this order. One person cannot be bypassed. If the first in line does not qualify, then one needs to proceed to the second in line, then to the third in line and so on. In order for a payment to be due, the deceased beneficiary must have lived throughout the entire month for which the check was issued.