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Guide to the Last Social Security Payment After Death

Gabrielle Applebury
Last Social Security Payment

The last social security payment issued after death will occur the month the person passes away. Subsequent payments will need to be returned to social security.

When Does the Last Check Come?

Social security pays out benefits one month in advance. This means that if the person passes away in January, any checks or benefits received in and after the month of February will need to be returned to social security. In other words, if the person passes away March 1st, the March check will come as it covers February's benefits. Checks received in April should be returned. Social Security does not pay benefits for the month of death, even if the person died on the last day of the month. So even if the person lived the entire month of March but died on March 31, the April payment needs to be returned. Checks or direct deposits should be returned through the same method the deceased was receiving payments. Therefore, it is important to report a death to Social Security right away.

Returning Benefits

To return social security benefits that arrive after the person has passed away:

  • Contact their bank if they were receiving direct deposits and notify them that subsequent checks should be returned to social security.
  • Return mailed checks to the social security office listed on the envelope or contact your local social security office for a return address.

Death Benefit

The death benefit, otherwise known as a lump sum payment is a one time benefit of $255 that may be used toward the funeral or burial expenses. Survivors who qualify include:

  • A surviving spouse who was living with the deceased
  • A surviving spouse who was not living with the deceased but was receiving certain benefits under the deceased's name
  • A surviving child

Survivor's Benefits

After the person passes away, you may be entitled to receive monthly survivor's benefits. These benefits are dependent on how much the deceased paid into social security. You may qualify if:

  • You are a widow or widower over the age of 60
  • You have a disability, are a widow or widower, and are 50 or older
  • You are a widow or widower caring for a child under the age of 16
  • You are the deceased's child and are under the age of 18
  • You are a dependent parent of the deceased and are 62 or older

Staying Informed About Social Security

Knowing when the last social security check arrives after the death of a family member can help you better prepare for the subsequent steps you will need to take. Understanding your responsibility as a survivor can help you receive benefits that can assist with the funeral costs, as well as potential monthly benefits that you may be entitled to.

Guide to the Last Social Security Payment After Death