What Social Security Monies Are Owed To a Decedent?

If a decedent has a surviving spouse or child, that person will receive $255 in a one-time lump-sum benefit.  This benefit is not paid where there is no surviving spouse or child, and cannot be paid for funeral expenses or other purposes.

A decedent is entitled to social security benefits only for a month in which the person was alive for the entire month.  So, for example, if a social security beneficiary died on April 29th, the May payment (which is for the month of April) must be returned in its entirety.  Social security benefits are not pro-rated.  One can send the check back to the Social Security Administration at your local social security office, or, if automatically deposited, the United States Treasury will automatically debit the decedent’s account for the funds.

If social security funds are owed to a decedent, upon providing an affidavit to the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (which affidavit is described at length in the statute next cited), the funds owed, to a maximum of $1,000, shall be paid to 1) a surviving spouse, 2) one or more of the decedent's children or their descendants, 3) DSHS (if the decedent was receiving Medicaid benefits), 4) decedent's father or mother, or 5) decedent's siblings.  RCW 11.66.010.