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Time Limit for Applying for Lump-Sum Death Payment

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at


1517. Time Limit for Applying for Lump-Sum Death Payment

1517.1 What is the time limit for applying for the lump-sum death payment?

If you are eligible for the lump-sum death payment, you must file the application within a two-year period.

Note: If you are the widow(er) of the deceased worker and you were entitled to spouse's benefits for the month before the month that the worker died, you do not need to file an application for the lump-sum.

1517.2 When does the two-year filing period end?

Normally, the two-year filing period ends with the second anniversary of the insured person's death. However, under the conditions set out in the following sections, the filing period may be extended. Also, there are conditions for extending the filing period for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Note: If the last day of the filing period is a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or other non-work day for Federal employees set by statute or Executive Order, the application may be filed on the next work day.

Last Revised: March, 2001



There are 10 Comments

My son died in May of 2010, he was divorced 2 yrs, we (his senior parents) paid for the services. I was wondering if we could receive his benefit for burial?
He does however have a daughter who just turned 16--would the payment be made to her or can we receive it.?

You may want to contact the SSA directly for this, but SSA documents indicate the lump-sum death payment may not be paid to parents. The daughter, however, may be eligible :

A one-time payment of $255 is payable to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the beneficiary at the time of death, OR if living apart, was eligible for Social Security benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record for the month of death.

If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who was eligible for benefits on the beneficiary's earnings record in the month of death.

i am dauther 40 years old he was maried to someone yonger than hi m can i resive my fathers benifits

Survivor benefits are for the following people :

* Widows or widowers (potentially including ex-spouses)

* Dependent parents if they are age 62 or older

* Unmarried children who are younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time)

* Children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled

Does a widow get a check when husband dies? She is 49 years old

There is a one-time payment of $255 that can be made when you die if you have worked long enough. This payment can be made only to your spouse or child if they meet certain requirements.

Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

  • A widow or widower -- full benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60
  • A disabled widow or widower -- as early as age 50
  • A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits
  • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time


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