Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

When a person that has been receiving SSD monthly payments dies, how is the last payment made?

This question comes from Caroline.

When a person that has been receiving SSD monthly payments dies, how is the last payment made? I heard that the last payment has to be returned, is that correct? Or is it prorated per day? Are the payments paid in advance for the month? Thank you. Asking for a friend, she has no computer.


Social Security payments are always made for the previous month; the deceased person may be due a check in the month that they passed away. Social Security views all Social Security checks like paper checks even if they are direct deposit--the entitled person has to be living on the day the check is paid (endorsing the check on the back with a signature).

If the deceased person passed away before the date they were to receive their payment for the month, their check must be returned. If they receive a paper check, it must be taken to the local Social Security office, if the check is direct deposit the bank generally returns them.

Social Security does not prorate checks; an individual must have been living the entire month to be entitled to a check for the month. For example, if Mr. Jones was receiving disability benefits and he passed away on June 25, there would be no payment due in July because he was not living the entire month of June.

The priority order for payment of Social Security underpayment benefits (benefits owed to the deceased) are as follows:

1. Spouse either living in the same household at the time of their death, or entitled to a monthly widow or widowerís benefit for the month of their death;

2. Child or children entitled to a monthly benefit on the deceased personís earningís record in the month of their death;

3. Parent or parents entitled to a monthly dependent parentís benefit on the deceased personís for the month of his death;

The last three involve spouses, children, or parents who do not fall in any of the above mentioned situations.

Your friend may be entitled to some kind of survivor benefit as well. Social Security pays a lump sum 255.00 death benefit and potentially other survivor benefits.

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These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

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For the sake of clarity, is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.