Written by attorney Brent Adams

The Dos and Don’ts When Applying for Social Security Disability Death Benefits

When a loved one dies, family members are left stunned, heartbroken, and confused. If the loved one was receiving Social Security disability benefits, family members may also find themselves intimidated by the mountain of paperwork. Keeping a simple list of priorities can be useful.

However, if you still feel overwhelmed or your claim has been denied, it may be time to contact a disability attorney in Dunn, North Carolina to intervene.

Getting started is half the battle. So here is a list of dos and don’ts to follow when applying for Social Security disability death benefits to help you stay organized as well as accelerate the claims process.

Dos for Applying for Social Security Disability Death Benefits

DOnotify the Social Security Administration personally and immediately following the death of your loved one.

The SSA receives reports of beneficiary deaths from various sources, including family members, funeral homes and other government agencies. However, don’t assume that the death has been reported.

DON’T forget to apply for the lump sum death benefit.

A spouse living with a disabled worker immediately before the death or a spouse living apart who was receiving Social Security on the deceased’s record is entitled to a lump sum death benefit of $255. If there is no surviving spouse, then a child receiving benefits under Social Security is also entitled to the lump sum payment.

DON’T forget to return any benefit check received after the death of the loved one.

You must return to Social Security the benefit check covering the month in which the decedent died. Social Security benefits are not pro-rated, so there is no partial payment allowed for the month in which the death occurred.

DO obtain and organize the documentation required to receive survivor benefits.

If you are not currently receiving benefits under the decedent’s records, you need to apply for survivor benefits promptly because, in some cases, benefits may not be retroactive. Likewise, if you are receiving social security benefits (retirement or disability) under your own record, you will still need to apply for survivor benefits under the decedent’s records.

Typically for survivor benefits, you will need to submit records documenting your:

  • birth date;
  • naturalization;
  • marriages;
  • U.S. military discharge (if applicable);
  • earnings (W2 forms, self-employment tax records, if applicable); and
  • divorces (if you are applying as a surviving divorced spouse).

For several documents (birth records, marriage and divorce certificates, and military papers), you will need to submit original copies that will be examined and returned to you.

DO apply for Social Security online if possible.

While you may be tempted to start with computing your monthly benefit, it may be better to wait. Using the calculator can be a bit daunting and time-consuming, so you may want to postpone this mental challenge until after Social Security reports the benefit to you as a double check on their calculations.

Now, one final DO …

Do Ask For Help if You Need it: Contact a Disability Attorney in Dunn

The attorneys of Brent & Adams Associates are energetic, aggressive, and compassionate advocates who handle all aspects of Social Security disability benefits. We are ready to provide assistance to help you protect your rights and fight for the benefits you are entitled to under Social Security. Call 910-892-8177 or 800-849-5931 today for a free consultation.

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