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Guide to Reporting a Death to Social Security

Gabrielle Applebury
Reporting a Death to Social Security

When someone passes away, the last thing you want to worry about is trying to figure out how to deal with the nitty-gritty details of reporting it to Social Security. Knowing a few helpful steps can make it easy to manage during a difficult time.

Who Needs to Report the Death

When someone dies, a few people can report the death to Social Security. Typically, a funeral home will call Social Security for the grieving family as part of their services. This can ease the family's burden as calling the agency may be something they forget to do in the midst of the funeral and grieving process. Family members or friends can also report the death as long as they have the deceased's Social Security number.

How to Report

To report the death call 1-800-772-1213. The Social Security office is open from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern, Mondays through Fridays, and no appointment is needed. If the wait on hold is too long, you can call and book an appointment, which can save you some time during the reporting process.

What Information You Need When Reporting a Death

When you contact Social Security, they will likely ask you for some standard information about yourself and the deceased. Be prepared by having the following information ready:

  • Proof of death in the form of a death certificate or an Electronic Death Registration report if you are applying for survivor's benefits or the death benefit
  • First party reporters of death, which includes a report made by a parent, spouse or sibling, or a representative or agent, should have the date and time of death, as well as the deceased's Social Security number
  • Third party reporters will need to supply the name, date of birth, date of death, and Social Security number of the deceased
  • Third party reporters must also give their name, their relationship to the deceased, their address, and their phone number

When to Report the Death

When a family member passes away, Social Security notes you should report it as soon as you can. Because benefits for the following month must be returned to Social Security, it is best to report the death within the same month the person has passed away.

Understanding the Reporting Process

Knowing what to do when a person passes away can make the reporting process a bit easier to manage during this stressful time. Be sure to contact Social Security right away if you have any questions or concerns regarding the deceased person's benefits.

Guide to Reporting a Death to Social Security