FOR LAWYERS

Lump Sum Death Payments

By
Josef Rappaport
/
December 21, 2022

Lump sum death payments are a type of financial benefit provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to surviving family members or beneficiaries of individuals who were receiving Social Security disability benefits at the time of their death. This payment is intended to provide some financial support to those who have lost a loved one and are facing additional expenses or financial challenges as a result of the death.

In this article, we will explore the eligibility requirements, amount, and other important details about lump-sum death payments as they relate to Social Security disability.

Key Takeaways

  • A lump sum death payment is a one-time financial benefit provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to surviving family members or beneficiaries of individuals who were receiving Social Security disability benefits at the time of their death.
  • To be eligible for a lump sum death payment, the deceased individual must have been receiving Social Security disability benefits at the time of their death, and the surviving family members or beneficiaries must meet certain criteria based on their relationship with the deceased individual.
  • The lump sum death payment amount is based on the amount of Social Security disability benefits that the deceased individual was receiving at the time of their death, and is a one-time, flat amount that is not subject to a cost of living adjustment.
  • To apply for a lump sum death payment, you will need to provide the SSA with the deceased individual's Social Security number, your own Social Security number, a copy of the death certificate, and any documentation related to your relationship with the deceased individual. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at your local SSA office.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a lump sum death payment, the deceased individual must have been receiving Social Security disability benefits at the time of their death. This includes both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In addition, the surviving family members or beneficiaries must meet certain criteria, including:

The surviving spouse must have been married to the deceased individual for at least nine months before their death, or must have been married for at least nine months and have a child together.
The surviving children of the deceased individual must be under the age of 18, or be 18 or older and have a disability that began before the age of 22.
Other family members, such as parents or grandparents, may be eligible if they were dependent on the deceased individual for at least half of their financial support.

Amount of the Payment

The amount of the lump sum death payment is based on the amount of Social Security disability benefits that the deceased individual was receiving at the time of their death. The payment is a one-time, flat amount and is not subject to a cost of living adjustment (COLA).

For example, if the deceased individual was receiving $1,000 per month in SSDI benefits, the lump sum death payment would be $255, which is equal to three months' worth of benefits. If the deceased individual was receiving $500 per month in SSI benefits, the lump sum death payment would be $255, which is equal to six months' worth of benefits.

It's important to note that the lump sum death payment is not the same as a survivor's benefit, which is a monthly payment that the surviving spouse or children of the deceased individual may be eligible to receive. The amount of the survivor's benefit is based on the deceased individual's Social Security earnings and is adjusted for inflation.

How to Apply for a Lump Sum Death Payment

If you believe you may be eligible for a lump sum death payment, you should contact the SSA as soon as possible to begin the application process. You will need to provide the following information:

  • The deceased individual's Social Security number
  • Your own Social Security number
  • A copy of the death certificate
  • Any documentation related to your relationship with the deceased individual, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate for a child
  • A benefit verification letter, which is a document that verifies the amount of benefits the deceased individual was receiving at the time of their death

You can apply for a lump sum death payment online, by phone, or in person at your local SSA office. It's important to remember that you will need to provide evidence of your relationship with the deceased individual, as well as any other required documentation, in order to be eligible for the payment.

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