SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: WHAT TO DO WHEN A BENEFICIARY DIES In June of 2010, 7,837,400 people in America were receiving social security benefits. This is 200,000 more people receiving these benefits than the same month a year earlier. With the number of individuals receiving social security benefits increasing at this rate, it is inevitable that you will know someone or be the family member of someone who is receiving these benefits. When someone you know or someone you are related to dies while they are receiving social security benefits, there are a few things that you should know to do. A family member or other person responsible for the beneficiary's affairs should do the following: 1. Promptly notify the Social Security Administration of the beneficiary's death by calling SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. It will be helpful if you already have information such as the decedent's social security number, date of death, and possibly a copy of their death certificate. 2. If the monthly benefits were being paid via direct deposit, notify the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiary's death. Request that any funds received for the month of death and later be returned to Social Security as soon as possible. 3. If the monthly benefits were being paid by check, DO NOT CASH the checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. Return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible. These steps may help you and the family members of the decedent from having to pay back any undeserved payments and may help you avoid any liability to the Social Security Administration.