Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

CRS – Social Security: The Lump – Sum Death Benefit

Via FAS – CRS report – Social Security: The Lump-Sum Death Benefit, Wayne Liou Analyst in Social Policy. February 2, 2017.
“When a worker who is insured by Social Security and living with a spouse dies, the spouse is entitled to a lump-sum death benefit of $255. If there is no such spouse, the payment can be made to a surviving child who is receiving or is eligible to receive benefits based on the deceased person’s work. In the majority of deaths, however, no payment is made. The death benefit was once a more important part of Social Security, in terms of percent age of total benefits paid and size of the benefit compared with monthly survivor benefits: the only benefits paid out between 1937 and 1939 were lump-sum benefits to survivors of workers who died before turning 65 years old, and until 1950, the lump-sum death payment was the only benefits some survivors of deceased workers could receive. However, because the payment has been fixed at $255 for the past four decades, inflation has eroded its value. At the same time, the real value of other Social Security benefits has increased. Total federal spending on lump-sum death benefits is now about $209 million, less than 0.03% of the total Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) benefits. Although the benefit was once linked to burial expenses and is sometimes still referred to as a “funeral benefit,” it no longer has any legal connection with funeral expenses. The erosion of the value of the lump-sum death benefit has brought about
various proposals to change it, including some recent congressional proposals that would have increased the benefit amount. Several presidential budget proposals have proposed changes, ranging from eliminating the provision to changing who is eligible to receive the lump-sum. None of these proposals were enacted into law.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.