Do I have to notify the Social Security Administration that my loved one has died?

When your loved one dies, you may feel as though the list of responsibilities that you face is endless. There are many tasks placed upon the administrator of the estate, including the obligation to notify the proper entities of your loved one’s death. One such obligation is to notify Social Security.

5 Steps for Dealing with Social Security Benefits After a Loved One Dies

How do you notify Social Security of your loved one’s death? The following is an overview:

  1. Obtain your loved one’s Social Security number.
  2. Contact the Social Security office either by phone or in person.
  3. Contact the bank where your loved one’s Social Security checks are deposited. Notify them that your loved one has died. You will likely have to provide the bank with a copy of your loved one’s death certificate.
  4. Notify the bank that you would like all Social Security checks that are deposited after your loved one’s death to be returned to Social Security. Because Social Security checks are one month behind, the check received the month after your loved one dies must be returned also.
  5. Return any uncashed checks that are dated the month of your loved one’s death or later to your local Social Security field office.

In addition to Social Security, there are other government entities that may also need notification of your loved one’s death. These agencies may include the Veteran’s Administration, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fortunately, your attorney can help you identify the appropriate agencies and entities that need to be contacted during this process.