List of Documents Needed When Applying for Social Security Survivor Benefits

When families lose a loved one, they can apply for survivor benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Claimants can call the national hotline to apply, or they can visit their local Social Security office. In Des Moines, applicants can visit the Riverpoint OFC Complex 455 SW 5th St., in Suite F to file for benefits.

When applying for death benefits, the administration will ask the applicant a slew of questions regarding the deceased’s general information and work history.

It’s important to be prepared with the following documents when applying for benefits to help speed up the process:

  • death certificate;
  • Social Security numbers of applicant and of the deceased;
  • application’s birth certificate;
  • marriage certificate (for spouse death benefits);
  • proof of citizenship (for non-U.S. natives);
  • divorce decree (for surviving divorced spouse benefits);
  • the dependent’s Social Security numbers and birth certificates;
  • the deceased’s most recent W-2s or tax returns; and
  • banking information for direct deposit.

Even if the survivors do not have all the required documentation, they should not delay applying for benefits. Oftentimes, the local social security administrator can contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify information online. This is especially important because benefits can be retroactive in some cases, meaning they could be effective from a date in the past.

The SSA also informs death benefit applicants to be prepared to provide necessary information to approve other benefits, such as:

  • the lump-sum death benefit;
  • widow/widowers or surviving divorced spouse benefits;
  • mother’s or father’s benefits;
  • dependent child; or
  • parent benefits.

Social security survivor benefits are meant to help protect and assist the deceased’s loved ones. While the benefits are helpful, they are usually not enough to cover all the expenses a family faces in the aftermath of their loved ones death, such as funeral expenses.

Speaking to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Des Moines about Benefits

For families that have lost a loved one in an accident that can be attributed to someone else’s carelessness, the family may be able to recover compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Families can contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair and speak to an attorney to discuss possible legal options. Contact us at (641) 792-3595 for a free consultation today.   

Corey Walker
With 19 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.
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