Social Security Benefits

We will notify Social Security of the death by filing a “Statement of Death by Funeral Director” form.  You must contact the Social Security Administration to verify the information they have and to receive instructions regarding your responsibilities and/or benefits.  Local office numbers and addresses are listed at the end of this page for your convenience.  A representative will tell you if an appointment is required.  You may also contact the Social Security Administration by calling their toll free number (800) 772-1213 Monday-Friday from 7:00am until 7:00pm EST or visiting their website, at

How Social Security Helps Families

            Social Security survivor’s benefits help ease the financial burden that follows worker’s death.  Almost all children under 18 will get monthly benefits if a working parent dies.  Other family members may also be eligible for benefits too.  Anyone who has worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes has been earning Social Security benefits for his or her family.  The amount of work needed to pay survivor benefits depends on the worker’s age at the time of death.

Who Can Get Survivor’s Benefits?

  • Widows/widowers age 60 and older.
  • Widows/widowers any age caring for the decease’s children, under the age of 16 or disabled.
  • Divorced wives/husbands age 60 or older if married to the deceased 10 years or more.
  • Widows/widowers or divorcees are 5o or older if disabled.
  • Children up to the age of 18.
  • Children age 18-19 if they attend high school full-time.
  • Children over the age of 18 if a disability occurred before age 22.
  • Deceased’s parents age 62 or older, if they were supported by the deceased.

Special One-time Payment

            In addition to monthly benefits for family members, a lump-sum payment of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death.  If there is none, it can be paid to a spouse who is eligible for benefits or a dependent child/children eligible for benefits.  This payment cannot be made if there is no eligible spouse or child.

How to Apply for Benefits

            You can apply for benefits by telephone or by going to the Social Security Office.  You may need some of the documents shown on the list on the reverse side of this sheet.  Don’t delay your application if you don’t have all the information.   Social Security can help you get required documents you may not have.

Information Needed. . .

  • Your Social Security number and the deceased’s Social Security number.
  • A Certified Death Certificate
  • Proof of the deceased’s earnings for the last year (W-2 form or self-employment tax return).
  • Your Birth Certificate.
  • A Marriage Certificate if applying for benefits as a widow/widower or divorcee.
  • A divorce decree if applying for benefits as a divorcee.
  • Children’s Social Security numbers and birth certificates if applying for children’s benefits.
  • Bank account numbers if benefits will be paid through direct deposit.

You will need to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing office.  Social Security will make photocopies and return your original documents.

Supplemental Social Security (SSS)

            If you are 65 or older, disabled or blind, ask the Social Security representative about Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) for people with limited resources.  If you receive SSI you may also qualify for Medicaid, food stamps and other social services.

A Reminder

            If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any checks which arrive after death will need to be returned to the Social Security office if death occurred before the first day of the month in which the check was received.  If checks were being deposited directly into a bank, the bank must be notified of the death as well.

Area Social Security Offices

Social Security Office
5425 Robin Hood Road
Norfolk, VA 23513
(757) 858-6198
M-F 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Social Security Office
2875 Sabre St., Suite 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 498-8726
M-F 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Social Security Office
3248 Academy Ave.
Portsmouth, VA 23703
(757) 686-3830
M-F 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Social Security Office
124 Rich Blvd
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
(252) 338-1155
M-F 8:45 am – 4:00 pm