Social Security

Who is eligible for Social Security?

Anyone who has worked and paid Social Security taxes has earned benefits for his or her family. The
amount of work (quarters) needed to make survivors eligible depends upon the worker’s age at death.

Who administers the program?

The program is administered by the U. S. Social Security Administration.

What does Social Security offer eligible survivors?

  • A one-time death benefit of $255 toward burial expenses
  • Monthly survivor’s benefits

Who may be eligible for survivor benefits?

  • Widows and widowers age 60 or older
  • Disabled widows and widowers
  • Widows and widowers taking care of the firefighter’s child who is under age 16 or disabled, and
    receiving Social Security benefits
  • Unmarried children under age 18, or up to age 19 if attending high school full time.
  • Under certain circumstances, stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children may receive benefits
  • Disabled children of any age who were disabled before age 22
  • Dependent parents age 62 or older
  • Divorced spouses age 60 or older, if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer

How do you get in touch with Social Security?

  • Call Social Security toll free at 1-800-772-1213, from 7 am to 7pm.
  • Call or visit your local Social Security office. The phone number will be in the government section of
    your local phone book

What documents will you need to apply?

  • Your Social Security number and the fallen firefighter’s number
  • Your loved one’s birth and death certificates
  • Proof of the firefighter’s earnings for the last year. (W-2 or self-employment tax return)
  • Your marriage certificate
  • If you are applying for benefits as a spouse or divorced spouse, your divorce decree
  • Your bank account information if you want direct deposit
  • Military discharge (DD-214), if your loved one served in the military

What if your loved one was already receiving Social Security benefits?

  • Contact Social Security immediately to report the death
  • If benefits are being paid through direct deposit, notify the financial institution.
  • If benefits are paid by check, do not cash the check and return any checks received after the death to
    Social Security.

How can I get more information?

For more detailed and most recent information, visit or call
1-800-772-1213. The TTY number is 1-800-325-0778.