What happens to my dad's social security retirement check after he dies?

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My understanding is that SS doesn't "distribute partial month checks" and that all the money has to be returned to SS, so that my mother can then begin receiving widow's benefits. Can anyone clarify or shed some light? I know the gooberment has info on their website, but does anyone have any real life experience?

Answers 1 to 10 of 70
Most of the time the funeral home director is the point person who contacts SSA regarding death. There is a small SS death benefit of $ 250 that is payable to the spouse if they were living together at the time of death or to a dependent child - often the funeral home gets this to pay against funeral costs. The FH may ask you to sign off on this if there is not a preneed done.

Unless they die in the first few days of the month, then the following month the regular SS will go out. Could be two months, but usually only 1. BUT check(s) will have a "full clawback" and need to be repaid. If your dad did a direct deposit then you should contact the bank that the SS check needs to be returned - this should be in writing from your mom (you can do it on her behalf) . If it's a check, then just hold the check. Doing either of these will make it faster for your mom to start getting her benefits - otherwise SSA will have to wait to make sure that the SS check is cleared and then you repaid the full amount and then the repayment check cleared (this could be 60 days as the banks and feds can move like glaciers). So don't spend the SS $. Most SSA offices have staff that are trained to deal with death so try to see that staff - most SSA staff deal with work issues.
The funeral home has nothing to do with Social Security. If the deceased has a remaining spouse, he/she will receive (upon notificiation to the S.S. office), a check for $250.00. Not only does the deceased receive no more money, the money he received in the month in which he died will be withdrawn from the checking/savings/money market account within 60 days....usually much sooner .
There are no "partial payments." If you die on the 31st of the month, then the entire month is considered the month of death......same thing happens if you die on the first of the month. Since Medicare is billed about one month in advance, and the S.S. benefits are paid one month in arrears, usually on the fourth Wednesday of every month, it shouldn't be a problem.
The Administration will calculate the new benefit due to the remaining spouse, based on the greater amount of the two recipients. Again, a check will be forthcoming on or about the fourth Wednesday of every month, to the remaining spouse, for that month. That's why I said that it is paid about one month in arrears. Example: The entire month of March benefit will arrive on March 28, 2012. if the spouse dies, there's no more money.
N1 - what I said was that often it is the funeral home director that contacts SSA to notify them of the death. They (funeral homes) routinely do this all the time. Most of the time the family is usually too bereaved and preoccupied with the trauma or drama of the death or traveling in for the funeral that contacting SSA is the last thing that one thinks about doing.

If there is not a pre-need done, the funeral home often suggests that the SSA death benefit of $ 250 be used towards funeral/burial expenses. That's about 1/4 of a cremation cost, so a lot of family do this.
FUNERAL HOMES HAVE NOTHING TO DO with SS. When your dad passes, cal SS immediately. My experience with my mom was this" She died on the 15th, we did NOT have to pay back any of the month. SS pays in the rears, like if he got paid on the 3rd, it was for the prior month. yes the spouse gets $250, but YOU, or the spouse have to call SS. this was my experience in AZ with my mom. HOpe it clears up a few things. The funeral home doesnt "take out anything from" the $250, that is a benefit, not to be messed with by them.
Igloo: I respect your opinion tremendously, however I would not let any funeral home touch S.S. funds....no matter what they say. Take the $250.00, and pay the funeral home directly yourself. You have plenty of time to call Social Security...bereavement considered. There's no timeline that I know of. (within reason). Same thing with Life Insurance. I have directed my beneficiaries to take the money. Don't let the insurance company talk you into an Annuity (they love that). Take the money... the whole thing. Put it in to your own Savings, Money Market, Checking or if allowable, your IRA. Insurance companies love to keep the payout and tell you that you'll get a better return if you leave the money with them. Perhaps so, but take the money; it's yours.....buy a house, go globetrotting, buy a business, anything you want. Peace be with you.
roibnkp, I think the funeral home role may vary -- though based on what, I don't know. My experience with my sister -- for whom I was conservator of person and estate -- was that the funeral home notified all legal parties of her death, and deducted the benefit check from the cost of the bill, in exchange for us filing the paper work to allow that. So, you are both right. The original questioner will need to ask the funeral home how they handle this.
JaneB, I am only going on how things went in AZ with my mom. The funeral home had nothing to do with SS. They only notified the state etc of her death. I am in WA now and set up my dads last things with a funeral home, and they told me we would have to deal with SS. We did pay in full his arrangements, so that was done. So maybe it is different in each state....not sure. But thanks for your input... R
Top Answer
Here in Florida - when my mom died (widow) the funeral home called the social security office to notify them. They told us they would make notifications as well as get the certified death certificates. She had direct deposit into her savings account and when I went to the bank (about a week after her death) to notify them to take her name off the account - it was a joint account with her name and mine - it was already in their records (from the State and/or SSA) that she had died. Word gets around fast, believe me.
Here in NY some funeral homes will do a lot of leg work for you-it is best not to pay the expenses right away-then they are more willing to do more for you-which I found out the hard way-I was only given a paper with the phone numbers of SS and such and most of the numbers were wrong-while a friend had all the calls done for her by the funeral home.
For Social Security recipients whose checks arrive on or about the third of every month, do I understand that that money is for the previous month or the current month? This situation does not apply to those receiving checks or deposits on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

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