Program Description

Are you the surviving spouse or care for the child of a worker who died? If so, you or the child(ren) may be eligible to get a special lump-sum death payment of $255. To qualify, you or the child(ren) must meet certain conditions.

For more details, visit the Survivors Planner: A Special Lump-sum Death Payment page.

General Program Requirements

In most cases, you can get a lump-sum death payment if you were living in the same household when your spouse died. If you were living apart, you may still qualify for the lump sum death payment if, during the month they died, you met one of the conditions below:

  • You were already getting benefits on their record. Or
  • You became eligible for benefits on their record upon their death.

If there's no eligible surviving spouse, a child may get the payment if, during the month the worker died, they met one of the conditions below:

  • They were already getting benefits on the worker's record. Or
  • They became eligible for benefits upon the worker's death.

If you or a surviving child does not currently get benefits, you must apply for this payment within two years of the date of death.

Application Process

Visit the Information You Need to Apply For Lump-sum Death Benefit - Form SSA-8 for details on how to apply.

If you would like to find out what other Social Security benefits you may qualify for, use SSA Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) on When you complete the questionnaire, you get a list of benefits to review. You can print this page for your records.

When you know which benefits you may apply for, visit the Apply for Social Security Benefits page to apply online. You can also call the phone number below to learn more about benefits and how to apply.

Last Updated: 08/21/2019