Social Security Benefits

Certain members of the family may be eligible to receive benefits when a person who has worked and paid Social Security tax dies. Benefits include a one time lump sum death benefit of $255.00 that can be paid to a surviving spouse or a child who meets specific eligibility criteria as well as monthly benefits for those who qualify. The funeral home will file a Form SSA-721 (Notification of Death) with the Social Security Administration but you must contact Social Security if you wish to file for 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 who may receive monthly benefits are:

  • A widow or widower age 60 (50 if disabled) or older or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled 
  • A divorced widow or widower age 60 (50 if disabled) or older 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

The Following Documents May Be Required

  • Birth Certificate
  • Dependent children's birth certificate(s)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Death certificate
  • DD-214 or other military discharge documents
  • Working status and earnings of deceased at death and working status and earnings of survivor
  • Bank routing and account number for direct deposit of benefits

For more information about Social Security Benefits in Maryland, please visit the official
Maryland Social Security website:


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