The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Social Security

Social Security - Death Payment - Lump Sum

The lump-sum death benefit of $255 is payable upon the death of a person who has worked long enough to be insured under Social Security. The one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 is payable to a surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased person's record; or If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased person's record in the month of death. If no spouse or child meeting these requirements exists, the lump-sum death payment will not be paid. The lump-sum death payment cannot be paid to funeral homes or estates for funeral expenses. To file for the benefit, call 1-800-772-1213. You must file the application for the lump-sum death payment within the two-year period ending with the second anniversary of the insured person's death.

If you need professional help with "Social Security" or have other tax questions, we can help you find a local licensed CPA for a free, no-obligation consultation.