Personal Finance & Money Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who want to be financially literate. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When someone receiving Social Security in the US dies, I have heard that there are some cases where the estate must return the last payment made by Social Security.

It makes total sense to me that if someone dies on the 25th and gets a Social Security payment on the 26th that the payment needs to be returned.

But I have also heard that if someone receives a Social Security payment on the 26th and dies on the 27th they may also have to return it.

In what cases does Social Security money need to be returned at death by the estate? What if the estate is bankrupt?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

"...funds received for the month of death and later" must be returned.

If the estate is bankrupt, as near as I can tell, the SSA is out of luck. (This applies to payment apart from that covered above.)

If you need advice on something other than retirement insurance, a comprehensive list of applicable statutes and rulings is here.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the links. Additionally I found this "Social Security benefits are paid each month, but for the previous month. For example, the check received in June is for the month of May." Which helps me even further. – Alex B Jun 17 '11 at 5:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.