What Are Social Security Death Benefits


As much as it is undesirable, death is inevitable. If a person who is dependent on social security income dies an untimely death, a number of social security death benefits come into picture. These benefits are considered as that money or other services that the original beneficiary would have got in case he would not have died. It must be understood that the person who claims these social security death benefits should meet certain conditions lest the benefits are denied.

Social Security Death Benefits for Surviving Spouse
In most cases, the person who can claim the social security death benefits is the spouse of the person who just died. In such cases if the surviving spouse meets certain criteria with regard to age and health, he or she may claim the same benefits as the deceased would have received had the death not occurred.

Please note that the US government keeps on revising the age and health related conditions.At the time of writing, a disabled surviving spouse can claim full benefit from the age of 50. A healthy spouse can claim full benefit from age of 65 whereas reduced benefits can be claimed upon reaching the age of 60. In addition to this, there is a provision of one time lumpsum payment of $255 to the surviving spouse provided that he/she was living with the deceased.

Social Security Death Benefits for Children of the Deceased
As is obvious, the children of the deceased are also eligible for the social security death benefits. This does come with riders and preconditions. Where any of the deceased's children are handicapped, he is allowed to claim full benefits directly.

In cases where children are not disabled, there is the provision that the children who attend high school, are unmarried and have not reached the age of 19 can claim the social security benefits of their deceased parent. In addition to this, there have been cases where the grandchildren of the deceased, adopted children of the deceased and even stepchildren of the deceased have been allowed to claim social security death benefits.

Social Security Death Benefits for Other Relatives of the Deceased
In a number of cases, relatives who are neither the spouse nor 'direct blood decedents' of the deceased have been allowed to claim the social security death benefits. It must be understood however that these cases have generally been the exceptions and not the norm.

Such benefits have mostly been procured after long and protracted battles in court of law. So if you are convinced that you should be given the social security death benefits of a person who was neither your spouse nor your parent or direct blood descendent, you should prepare to fight the SSA in court of law.