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How Do I Report a Medicare Beneficiary’s Death?

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When the death of a Medicare beneficiary occurs, the family member or person responsible for the beneficiary’s affairs may notify Social Security; however, in most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to Social Security. If you want the funeral home to do that, you will need to give the deceased’s Social Security number to the funeral director so he or she can make the report. Otherwise, you can call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday.

If monthly benefits were being paid via direct deposit, the bank or other financial institution also needs to be notified of the beneficiary’s death. Any funds received for the month of death and any later months may need to be returned to Social Security.

If benefits were being paid by check, do not cash any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. Return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible. A one-time payment of $255 is payable to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the beneficiary at the time of death or if the surviving spouse was living apart from the beneficiary, but was receiving Social Security benefits from the beneficiary’s earnings record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who was eligible for benefits from the beneficiary’s earnings record in the month of death. Certain family members may be eligible to receive monthly benefits. Contact Social Security to learn more.

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