Social Security – Lost Checks and Unclaimed Death Benefits

Approximately one-half billion dollars in Social Security benefit checks are not cashed each year. Heirs of decedents who have left behind unclaimed assets and unclaimed benefits make up the largest group of individuals owed money and property. Most family members do not know they are entitled to receive funds, as financial records are often incomplete or missing at the time of death. There is no time limit concerning a request to reissue a lost or uncashed check, but no effort is made to locate and/or notify owners.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) contains important several important bits of information on 92 million persons whose deaths are on file with the Social Security Administration, including: social security number, date of issuance, state of issuance, date of birth, date of death, last known residence, and payment of final benefit. The index includes names of virtually all individuals deceased after 1962, the first full year records were computerized. (A limited number of records from as far back as 1937 are also included).

Also included are the names of legal aliens with social security numbers, and some 400,000 railroad retirees, who may be entitled to collect Railroad Retirement Board pensions and benefits. For specific assistance with RRB benefits go to: RRB Search

With a Social Security number heirs can obtain the decedent’s Social Security application and claims file, which details birth place, parents’ names, and where the lump-sum death distribution beneficiary lived. Knowing the Social Security number of a deceased relative is often necessary to conduct an effective unclaimed asset search, and is necessary when making a claim.

To conduct a search for a deceased relative’s unclaimed assets and death benefits complete the form below.