Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Social Security Benefits Paid Before and After an Individual’s Death

September 15, 2016

Office Affiliation: The Office of Audit

Audit Report Number: A-05-16-50123

 Individuals must meet specific criteria to qualify for Social Security benefits. Qualifications for Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits include age, insured status, relationship, lawful presence, and disability. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has some of the same requirements but also includes household living arrangements, income, and resource limits.

In addition to individuals who contribute to OASDI receiving benefits on their own records, some can receive SSI, auxiliary, and/or survivor benefits during their lifetime. Some individuals contribute without anyone ever receiving benefits on their records.

For example, if an OASDI-insured individual passes away without receiving any benefits, and no one else is eligible on his/her record, the Agency will not pay a benefit to anyone, regardless of the individual’s contribution to the OASDI Trust Funds.

We completed this review to determine the type, and duration, of Social Security benefits paid to individuals, as well as their auxiliaries and survivors, before and after each individual’s death. We also determined the characteristics of those paid and those not paid any type of benefit.

Read the full report

Read the summary report

Looking for U.S. government information and services?