Step 3: Claim Your Benefits

Discover What You’re Entitled To

In this section we’ll help you get any additional benefits so you don’t miss out on anything.

Essential Notifications

Reach out to former employers to learn about all available benefits, retirement, or pension plans.

Contact as many of the decedent’s employers as possible.

  • Many employers have death benefits for their employees. Contact past employers to uncover these. Here are some of the common benefits that you may be eligible for:
    • Death benefits like life insurance, accidental death insurance, or other death benefits through the employer. Typically, the employer takes care of the paperwork to process those claims.
    • COBRA benefits for the surviving spouse and dependent children to temporarily continue health, dental, and/or vision insurance the decedent may have had. Check with the employer to see what benefits qualify for continuation.
    • Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts that have a balance at the date of death. These accounts, funded with pretax deductions from employee salaries, can be used to pay for healthcare or dependent care expenses incurred prior to death.
    • Retirement accounts such as 401(k), Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE), a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP), or other less common plans.
    • Unpaid salary, bonuses, vacation time, and/or comp time that may be owed or payable upon death. Ask if the employee or estate is entitle to anything else as well, like reimbursable expenses.

Full Circle Tip: Life or health insurance plans tied to a pension are often overlooked because they require notifying a separate company. Make sure you ask about these and apply for survivor benefits if applicable.

Notify the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) if the decedent is a retired or former federal civil service employee

  • OPM is like the HR department for all federal civil service employees. Contact them to claim any benefits you’re entitled to as a survivor.

Full Circle Tip: Call 888-767-6738 to reach the Office of Personnel Management. Please be advised that it may require several tries as their phone system limits the number of available slots.

Trouble getting through to the OPM? Full-Circle Aftercare can contact them through a direct line and can also ensure you get all of the benefits you’re entitled to.

Social Security & Insurance

Claim survivor benefits and collect life insurance payouts.

Reach out to Social Security to claim survivor benefits and to stop checks if applicable

  • Contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213
  • Fill out form 1724 to get the last payment that you are entitled to

Full Circle Tip: 82% of widows don’t receive their full spousal benefits. Although your funeral home will notify Social Security of the death, you’ll need to still contact Social Security directly to claim survivor benefits

Claiming final payments and ensuring you get all the benefits you’re entitled to can be a hassle. Full-Circle Aftercare can help.

Find and notify any life insurance companies you have policies with

  • Sometimes there are life insurance opportunities in areas people don’t expect. Here some places you can check:

    Employers

    Credit Cards

    Credit Unions

    Unions

    Car Insurance

    Disability Insurance

    Travel Insurance

    Accidental Insurance

    Homeowners Insurance

  • Most companies that issued life insurance policies for the deceased ask you to provide a Certificate of Death along with the following information:
    Policy Info:

    Policy Number

    Policy Value

    Your Info:

    Name

    Age

    Address

    SSN

    Decendent's Info:

    Name

    Address

    DOB

    DOD

    Cause of Death

    Place of Death

  • Check to see if accounts include credit life insurance, which pays off outstanding balances in the event of a customer’s death. If so, file the appropriate claim for benefits, along with the Death Certificate.
  • Check with your attorney or financial planner to determine the best payout option for your situation.

Veterans Benefits

Find out what you’re eligible to receive on top of everything else.

Apply for veterans benefits after you’ve applied for Social Security and life insurance benefits

  • Before processing your claim, the Veterans Affairs office will need to know the exact amount of any other benefits you are receiving.

Contact your local Veterans Affairs Department

The Veterans Affairs office will determine eligibility and provide instructions for filing your claim.

  • The following Information is required to file for VA Benefits:
  • An original or certified copy of the Enlisted Record and Report of Separation (Form DD214)
    • Can’t find your DD214? You can request military service records through milConnect.
  • An original or certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • The exact amount of life insurance benefits you’ll receive
  • The exact amount of Social Security benefits you’ll receive
  • Paid receipts for funeral and cemetery expenses
  • Paid receipts for hospital and doctor bills incurred by last illness (if applicable)
  • Social Security numbers of you and your dependent children
  • (if necessary) Original or certified copies of birth certificates of any children that are under the age of 18, or enrolled in school
  • (if necessary) Complete VA Form 21-674 to claim benefits for a Veteran’s child who is attending school and is at least 18 but under 23 years old.
  • (if necessary) An original or certified copy of divorce decree or death certificate if the deceased had a previous marriage that ended with divorce or a spouse’s death
  • Your VA claim number (if one has been assigned)

Next Steps

Get Organized

Avoid Common & Costly Mistakes

  • Secure important documents
  • Protect against fraud
  • Make essential notifications
  • Do it right the first time

Manage Assets & Accounts

Navigate the Financial Maze

  • Avoid paying unnecessary bills
  • Close bank accounts at the right time
  • Locate your essential information
  • Find out if you need an estate attorney

Prepare for the Future

Take Care of Yourself

  • Get helpful grief resources
  • Update your will
  • Create a new yearly budget

Connect with a Pro

Let us direct you to the very best

Find experts in post-death logistics and get help managing your grief.

Next Steps

Get Organized
Manage Assets & Accounts
Prepare for the Future
Connect With A Pro

Estate Closing Plan

By Full-Circle Aftercare

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It can take 6-12 months to settle some estates, but our friends at Full-Circle Aftercare often do it in 2 weeks. We don’t get any perks for referrals—we simply want to make you aware of helpful services, and you'll receive a $50 discount  ($399 $449) if you feel their help is needed.


What you'll get:

  • A personalized estate plan to follow
  • Know if you need an attorney OR if you can save money and do it yourself
  • Speak directly to an estate expert
  • Confidence you’re taking the right steps
Learn More

Close Your Estate Faster With Full-Circle

It can take 6-12 months to settle some estates, but our friends at Full-Circle Aftercare often do it in 2 weeks. We don’t get any perks for referrals—we simply want to make you aware of helpful services, and you'll receive a $50 discount  ($399 $449) if you feel their help is needed.