What forms or information do I need to apply for Social Security survivor’s benefits?

If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, it is important to apply promptly because benefits may be paid from the time you apply, rather than the time the worker died. You can apply by telephone or at any Social Security office. You will need to provide the following information to apply for survivor’s benefits:

  • Proof of death—either from a funeral home or death certificate
  • Your Social Security number
  • The deceased worker’s Social Security number
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (if applying as a widow or widower)
  • Your divorce papers (if applying as a divorced widow or widower)
  • Dependent children’s Social Security numbers and birth certificates
  • Deceased workers W-2 forms or federal self-employment tax return for the most recent year
  • The name of your bank and your account number so benefits can be deposited directly into your account