When a Social Security beneficiary passes away, the death must be reported to the Department of Social Security. Accordingly, there are certain steps that must be taken to cancel benefits or transfer the payments to an eligible survivor.
Failing to report the death of a Social Security beneficiary can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, since most of the benefits by the department are paid in advance, any payments received from Social Security after the beneficiary passes away will have to be returned. If the date of death coincides with the payment date, no overpayment is created. However, if the beneficiary received a payment after the date of death or any later months, that payment is considered as an overpayment and would have to be refunded to the DSS by the spouse or heirs.
Continuing to receive benefits after someone dies, even if that person was a spouse and the benefits are going into a joint account, is a crime. Second, failing to report the death could cause another beneficiary to miss out on collecting Social Security survivor benefits.
Local deaths must be registered at one of the Public Registry offices. During such visit, the deceased’s identity card would have to be returned. Thus, it is advisable for relatives / friends of the deceased to make a copy of the identity card.