We should be notified immediately when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.
If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to speak to someone.
When You Report a Death
- If you are getting benefits on your spouse's or parent's record:
- You generally will not need to file an application for survivors benefits.
- We'll automatically change any monthly benefits you receive to survivors benefits after we receive the report of death.
- We may be able to pay the Special Lump-Sum Death Payment automatically.
- If you are getting retirement or disability benefits on your own record:
- You will need to apply for the survivors benefits.
- We will check to see whether you can get a higher benefit as a widow or widower.
- If you are not getting benefits, you should apply for survivors benefits promptly because, in some cases, benefits may not be retroactive.
Documents Needed to Apply
Please select the benefit you will be applying for from the list below to see what information and documents you may need when you apply:
- Widows/Widowers or Surviving Divorced Spouse's Benefits
- Child's Benefits
- Mother's or Father's Benefits (You must have a child under age 16 or disabled in your care.)
- Lump-Sum Death Payment
- Parent's Benefits (You must have been dependent on your child at the time of his or her death.)
If you don't have all the documents you need, don't delay applying for Social Security.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If we can't verify your information online, we can still help you get the information you need.