benefits: A variety of benefits are available depending on the age and
relationship of any survivors. You may be eligible for benefits if you match
any of these circumstances: Spouse age 60 or older
spouse age 50 or older
Spouse under 60 who cares for dependent children
under 16 or disabled children
Children of the deceased under the age of 18
or who are disabled
Call 800-772-1213 for an appointment with the
nearest Social Security office to inquire about benefits and eligibility. When
applying for survivor's benefits, you will need to have birth, death, and
marriage certificates, Social Security numbers, and a copy of the deceased's
recent federal income tax return.
Veteran's Administration: If the deceased was receiving
monthly payments already, you will need to notify the VA of the death.
If the deceased was a veteran who received a discharge other than
dishonorable, survivors may get $300 toward funeral expenses and $150 for
burial costs. Burial in a national cemetery is free to a veteran, spouse, and
dependent children. Veterans are also eligible for a headstone or grave
The surviving spouse and dependent children of disabled veterans
may also be entitled to a lump sum death benefit, monthly payments, such as
educational assistance and medical care.
Check with the regional VA
office about your eligibility for the different types of veteran's benefits and
the documents you will need to apply for benefits.
Employee Benefits: Many employers provide life, health, or
accident insurance. The deceased may be due a final paycheck for vacation or
Be sure to contact all past employers, including federal,
state or local governments, to see if you are entitled to death benefits,
continued health insurance coverage for the family, or payments from an annuity
or pension plan.
If the deceased belonged to a union or professional
organization, check to see if they offer death benefits for their members. Also
find out about any credit union balances.