Social Security Benefits

Social Security Benefits

The following checklist is designed to help you file for your Social Security benefits correctly so that prompt payments may be made.


To receive monthly benefits, the deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security ranging from 1 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death. Those eligible for monthly benefits include:

  • A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
  • A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled
  • Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time)
  • Children who were disabled before reaching 22 as long as they remained disabled
  • Dependent parent or parents 62 or older

Lump-Sum Death Payment

A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:

  • A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death
  • A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death
  • A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death

Applying for Benefits

You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office, by telephone at 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.ssa.gov.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

Part of the service provided by our funeral home is a timely notification to the Social Security Administration (SSA) of the death that has occurred. Usually within 24 to 48 hours after the death has occurred the SSA receives notification from the funeral home to suspend payments and begin the process of determining survivor benefits, if any are due. This is accomplished via a form filled out by the funeral home, signed by the funeral director, and faxed to the SSA office. Generally speaking, it is not necessary to send a certified copy of the death certificate to initiate the process; the notification form from the funeral home is sufficient to get things started within the SSA.

After the SSA processes the funeral home form, they generally issue a condolence letter to the family member listed by the funeral home as the next of kin. This letter outlines any further benefits due to a survivor and may request that the family reach out to their office. Please follow all directions included in the letter, and respond if requested. It is not out of the ordinary for the SSA to conduct a phone interview with a survivor to help determine what all benefits are applicable to the situation. Also, be advised the SSA may ask for original documentation such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and other official documents. These can be mailed in to their office and will be returned, or you can personally deliver them to the Greensburg office and take them back with you after the office has copied what it needs. If you are receiving benefits on your own work record (i. e. you filed for social security separately from your spouse), your benefits will NOT automatically convert – you must call the Social Security Administration at 1 (877) 748-9768.

As far as what to do with payments received, it is imperative to understand how and when the SSA issues checks. A check received by an individual on social security is for the month prior to which it was issued in; for instance, a check received in February is payment for the month of January. Therefore, an individual who died on January 25th is eligible to keep the check received in January, as it was for the month of December, but the check received in February will have to be transmitted back to the SSA as it is for the month of January and the individual did not live for the entire month. The SSA no longer prorates its payments based on living a portion of a month; you must live the entire month to be entitled to any payment for that month.

If you do not receive notification from social security within a month after the death has occurred, please contact the funeral home and we will do our best to help make sure they are not in need of any documentation or calls. It would also be advisable to call the Social Security Administration at 1 (877) 748-9768 if a month has passed. Similarly, if you have any questions regarding social security, please call us and we’ll gladly assist you.

Lopatich-Brinker Funeral Home, LLC
Phone: (724) 537-2001
601 Weldon Street, Latrobe, PA 15650


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