Social Security Question

If a person passes away on the 26th of the month and their check arrives into a joint bank account on the 1st of the next month does the check have to be returned?

It looks like the entire amount needs to be returned by the bank.

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10077.pdf

If a beneficiary dies
Let us know if a person receiving Social Security benefits
dies. We can’t pay benefits for the month of death. That
means if the person died in July, the check received in
August (which is payment for July) must be returned.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial
institution as soon as possible so it can return any
payments received after death.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security
survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies.

Thank You, that answered my question.

When my father died I notified Soc. Sec. within 48 hours. They already knew.:eek:

When my father died, it was a day or so before he would have received his SS deposit. He did receive it. . . but, oh, yeah, it was backed out within 48 hours.

Yes. I experienced this with my mother and with my late husband. It blew my mind. Medicare also wanted my late husband’s wheelchair back immediately–they contacted me while I was sitting shiva, three days after he died. I said, “I’ll leave it out in the driveway, and you can send someone to pick it up.” :frowning:

Wow, that’s deep. Most people will have far more than the usual expenses in their final month, not fewer. It’s also just heartless.

It’s not just government agencies that are so enthusiastic. My mother-in-law’s pension plan was very prompt in reversing her direct deposit once we notified them of her death.

My grandmother died around 50 minutes before the end of a month and her last check was automatically returned.

That was the check for the next month, which was already in the process of being issued (or direct deposited) when she died. Because she died before that month started, she was not eligible for a benefit payment for that month.

My MIL died the 29th of the month. By the time SSA was notified it was too late for them to stop her check from being deposited, so they had to pull the deposit back. Just like her private pension fund did.

That doesn’t fit with the quote from post #2:

A back of the envelope calculation, for what it’s worth:

About 2.6 million Americans die each year. If 2 million people are on social security averaging $1500 per month, withholding payment for the month of death saves $3 billion, about one-third of a percent of the total social security budget.

Is it petty, or is it sensible cost saving? I guess if it’s the 31st of the month and grandma seems very quiet today, best not to check on her until the morning.

That was the situation with my grandmother–she died at 11:10 PM on the 31st of December and her December payment (which was deposited her account on January 3rd) was recalled. So the payment was withheld over literally 50 minutes.

I guess I’m in the minority that I don’t find it heartless. Difficult for the family, of course, but nonetheless the money is for that person to live on for a specific month - if that person is dead before the month starts, then they don’t need money (and don’t have a claim on it). Their families might need it, but the money isn’t for the families - it isn’t, nor should it be treated like, part of the deceased estate if the deceased didn’t live long enough to be entitled to it.

Whoops, my bad. I had handled my MIL’s finances for the last 15 years of her life, and since the SS and pension that arrived at the beginning of the month went towards that month’s expenses then that was how the money was intended. From a practical standpoint that’s how it worked out, but I guess actually instead of 344 monthly payments she only got 343 monthly payments.

[My bold]

Again, were not discussing the month after death. From the quote & link to the SSA site, it’s clear that they withhold payment (or require that it be returned) for the month during which the patient dies.

The question has been answered correctly, but thought I’d add an anecdote. Neither of my parents ever made much money, and both were quite frugal. My father passed away on the last day of the month, so the SS check went undeposited and had to be mailed back. Even more ironic is that my mother passed away on February 29 in a leap year, so her check had to be mailed back uncashed. On three out of four years, of course, passing away on the day after Feb. 28 would have meant we could have kept her last SS check.

There really should be a Feb 29th exemption, I think this violates the 8th Amendment.

They are very good. When we did spousal benefits, we brought our marriage license like the site said. Not necessary - they knew all about it.

The SSA staff are just doing what your elected representatives in Congress decided. If anyone is heartless, it’s them – and you people who voted them into office.

And they do send a Death Benefit check. And continue to pay Survivor Benefits to the family.