On July 20, I wrote that Social Security retirement, when started at age 62, was not prorated for the number of days that you were 62 in the month. You are either eligible for the complete month or not at all. For retirement, you must be at least age 62 through the entire month to receive benefits for that month.
Being eligible for the complete month or not at all applies for Social Security survivors and disability benefits as well. Benefits are not paid for part of a month.
So, are Social Security benefits prorated for the month of death?
To be eligible for a month, a person must be alive the entire month. Even if death occurs on the last day of a month, the deceased is not due Social Security benefits for the month of death and payment for that month, if received, must be returned.
However, Social Security survivors benefits can begin effective with the month of death, even if the death was at the end of the month.
For example, a person receiving Social Security retirement dies at the end of August. That person is not due any retirement benefit for August because he or she was not alive the entire month.
However, if an eligible person can be paid survivors benefits on the work record of the deceased, those survivors benefits can be paid starting for August, the month of death, also not prorated.
Remember that Social Security for a month is paid in the following month so payment for August is received in September.
In the example, Social Security benefits received by the deceased in September, representing payment for August, must be returned. Note that the Social Security payment received in August was for July and is payable because the person was alive for all of July.
The 2016 payment schedule is at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10031-2016.pdf.