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$255 social security death benefit, will that go to the surviving spouse automatically?

Q) Does the surviving spouse of a worker, married at the time of death and living with the worker at the time death, and both collecting social security prior to the time of death [the surviving spouse, a wife, has already received notice from SSA that she will begin receiving her monthly widow’s benefits] have to file an actual application for the one time $255 death benefit or will that go to the surviving spouse also automatically in the same way as the monthly widow benefit. Thanks for reply.

A) According to the Social Security Administration: A surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255 if they meet certain requirements.




Generally, the lump-sum is paid to the surviving spouse who was living in the same household with the worker when he or she died. If they were living apart, the surviving spouse can still receive the lump-sum if, during the month the worker died, he or she:

was already receiving benefits on the worker’s record; or
became eligible for benefits upon the worker’s death.
If there’s no eligible surviving spouse, the lump-sum can be paid to the worker’s child (or children) if, during the month the worker died, the child:

was already receiving benefits on the worker’s record; or
became eligible for benefits upon the worker’s death.
If the eligible surviving spouse or child is not currently receiving benefits, they must apply for this payment within two years of the date of death.

For more information about this lump-sum payment, contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

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