AgingCare Article: How to Handle Social Security Benefits When a Senior Dies

One aspect of managing a loved one’s final affairs that most people aren’t familiar with is how to handle their last Social Security retirement benefits check. Surviving family members often incorrectly assume that the estate is entitled to keep the beneficiary’s final payment or that it can be spent on things like funeral expenses. The truth is that a senior’s last check usually must be returned to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Understanding the Timing of Social Security Payments

Social Security retirement benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due. For example, a senior’s January benefit is received in February, February’s benefit is direct-deposited in March and so on. It’s important to understand that the SSA only pays benefits for a specific month if the beneficiary was alive for the entirety of that month.

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