Claiming the $250 Social Security Death Benefit: Eligibility and Application Process

Updated on February 12, 2024

Unlocking the $250 Social Security Death Benefit: Eligibility and Application Guide

$250 Death Benefit from Social Security

In the unfortunate event of losing a spouse in the USA, many widows or widowers may be eligible for a one-time lump-sum death payment from the Social Security Administration, valued at $225. If there isn’t a qualifying widow or widower, a son or daughter who qualifies for benefits based on the deceased’s employment record may receive the lump sum payout.

To be eligible for this financial aid, individuals must meet specific requirements established by the US government, and the survivor must have worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for payments. Additionally, the surviving spouse must demonstrate that they were residing with the deceased at the time of their passing to receive the payout. It’s a support measure aimed at providing some assistance during a challenging time for those who have lost a loved one.

If you’re looking for comprehensive information about the $250 Death Benefit from Social Security, you’ll find all the essential details in this post. It covers everything you need to know about this benefit to ensure you have a clear understanding of the support it provides. Feel free to dive in and get the information you’re seeking.

Death Benefit from Social Security

If someone was regularly receiving Social Security benefits each month, their surviving spouse is entitled to the Social Security Death Benefit, valued at $255. To be eligible for monthly benefits, the deceased worker must have accumulated enough credits through covered employment under Social Security. The required number of credits can vary, ranging from 1.5 to 10 years, depending on the individual’s age at the time of their death. It’s a way to provide some financial support to the surviving spouse during a challenging time.

Social Security Death Benefits are essentially one-time payments, distinct from survivor benefits, which involve ongoing payments to the survivor’s parents, children, surviving spouse, or ex-spouse. While the usefulness of the Death Benefit is somewhat limited due to its singular nature and modest amount, it can provide valuable assistance in covering some of the expenses associated with funeral arrangements. It serves as a financial support during a challenging period, offering a helping hand with the immediate costs that arise following the loss of a loved one.

How to get it?

Survivors, whether wives or children of an insured Social Security worker, may be eligible for a special payment of $255. This additional payment can be received alongside regular SSA survivor payments.

To apply for the Social Security lump sum benefit, eligible individuals can visit any local Social Security office nationwide or contact the national office by phone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Unfortunately, there aren’t any online solutions available for this process.

When applying, it’s important to have the late employee’s birth and death certificates, along with other necessary legal paperwork. Expect questions about the deceased’s financial situation, family history, and Social Security status, as outlined in Social Security form SSA-8. This thorough process ensures that the payment is appropriately processed and distributed to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Who is Eligible for Application?

To claim the $255 death benefit, you need to be the widow, widower, or child of a Social Security recipient; other family members are excluded from this benefit. Priority for the benefit is typically given to the surviving spouse, especially if any of the following conditions are met:

  1. They were living with the deceased at the time of their death.
  2. They were receiving spousal benefits based on the deceased’s wage record, even if they were living apart.
  3. They are eligible for survivor benefits according to the deceased’s record, even if they had a separate residence.

These conditions help determine the priority for receiving the death benefit, with the aim of providing support to those who were most closely connected to the deceased individual.

If the person who passed away had a child who is eligible for benefits through their employment record in the month of death, and there is no surviving spouse, then that child would receive a lump sum payment. This applies to both unmarried children who are either still in high school (18 or 19 years old) or adult children who are handicapped. If there is no qualified child or spouse to receive the benefit, then no death benefit is provided.


Death benefits are one-time lump sum payments given to the parents, children, surviving spouse, or ex-spouse of the deceased individual in specific situations. On the other hand, survivor benefits are ongoing, continuous payments provided to eligible individuals.




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