Does Social Security SSI Pay for Funeral Expenses?

by Jeannine Mancini ; Updated April 09, 2018

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, benefits are paid to disabled adults and children meeting the financial qualifications. Low-income adults over age 65 without disabilities may also qualify for SSI benefits, if they meet certain financial requirements. Since SSI recipients have limited assets, they may not have the financial ability to plan for funeral expenses. While the SSI program does not pay for funeral expenses, Social Security does award a small death benefit to surviving family members.

Death Benefit

Social Security offers recipients a lump-sum death benefit. As of 2018, the benefit amount is $255. The benefit is payable to a surviving spouse if he was living with the SSI recipient before she passed away. If they were not living together at the time of death, the spouse may qualify if he was collecting benefits under the spouse's record. A child under the age of 18 can apply for the benefit if there is no qualifying spouse. Although a spouse may choose to apply the payment towards funeral costs, the benefit cannot be paid to funeral homes or estates for funeral expenses. If there is no qualifying recipient, the benefit is not paid.

Survivor Benefits

Social Security pays monthly benefits to widowers and dependent children. Benefits are a percentage of the dead person, or decedent's, benefit amount. To receive Social Security survivor benefits, the decedent must have earned the required number of credits based on the age at death. If the deceased is receiving SSDI, the credits do not have to be recalculated. Since SSI benefits are for workers who did not earn enough credits before becoming disabled, there are no survivor benefits for the relatives of SSI recipients.

Applying for Benefits

If a survivor is currently receiving Social Security benefits on their spouse or parent's record, she can contact the Social Security Administration by calling or visit a local office. Social Security automatically converts monthly benefits to survivor benefits after a death is reported and eligibility confirmed. The one-time death benefit may also be added to your benefit automatically. If the survivor is not receiving benefits or is receiving benefits under her own record, she will need to apply for survivor benefits.

Other Assistance

The funeral home may agree to discount the cost of the funeral or wait for payment if the family is awaiting a payment from a life insurance policy. If the deceased was considered indigent at the time of death, contact the state's Department of Human Services and ask about funeral benefits. For example, the state of Illinois provides a benefit of up to $1,103 for a funeral and $552 for the burial of person with a low income. Certain counties also administer funeral assistance programs. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Indigent Burial Program helps with funeral and burial expenses if the decedent and next-of-kin meet poverty guidelines. The decedent's family can also donate the body at no cost. Palm Beach County, Florida offers an indigent cremation program for decedents who had an income at or below 110 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by


About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

Cite this Article | A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

Related pages

rebuilt title texasfile 4868 electronicallylouisiana lemon law statutecan you return itunes gift cardslease vs subleaserenting stockscnn net worth calculatornon agency rmbstrading in a car with negative equity for a leaseformat of cash budgetkaiser permanente termination formpge credit cardcan you buy lobster with food stampsripped dollar billgrifols prepaid cardwill bactrim treat tooth infectiondshs ebt cardshort term notes payable on balance sheetstockholder equity calculatorpartial claimmoving expenses tax deductiblelast will and testament kentuckymarried withhold at single ratedole tickerri food stamp applicationva loan default consequencesjoint tenants with full rights of survivorship floridamarket capitalization rate formulapolice academy gifts for graduationsample letter to employer explaining bad creditcanceling golds gym membershipdeadweight loss measures the losshow do i redeem hh bondshow to calculate yearly interest ratedo i need to report roth ira on taxeswhat is the cvv2 on a visa cardcar insurance for under 25sapartment lease agreement floridasynonym for tracingpbgc ratepost office postal tubesroot canal crown costflorida kidcare income eligibilityhigh risk signature loansdisadvantageous synonymclaiming moving expenses on taxeshow to claim babysitting income on taxesgovernment funded dental care ontariohow to find marginal benefitis ca sdi deductiblealberta eviction lawshess visapayee endorsement money ordernikestockswhat is a contingent beneficiaryamexatms comfile taxes without w2ssi 1099request copy of 1099 from irsmcdonalds scholarship hacercapital one secured credit card increase credit limitbiehealthmiami dade clerk officewhat to expect when refinancing mortgagewhat is a morgan dollar worthdepositor account titlehess credit card applicationgood foods to eat before donating plasmamarginal revenue equationcheck moneygram money order statuscashiers check refundpre market trading nyseaggregate adjustment calculatorcalculating dead weight loss