Providing he or she is entitled to or eligible for benefits as a widow(er), mother, or father for the month the worker dies, the lump-sum is payable to a surviving spouse not living with the deceased worker at time of death if:
There is no spouse living in the same household with the worker when he or she died; or
The surviving spouse dies before the lump-sum is paid.
An "eligible" person is one who would have been entitled to benefits had a timely application been filed.
No, the lump-sum is not payable to a divorced spouse.
In rare situations, there may be two surviving spouses (e.g., one meets the requirement in §402 (A)(1) and the other meets the requirement in § 402 (A)(2)). Both spouses may be eligible for the lump-sum, even though neither was living in the same household as the worker when he or she died. In this situation, the lump-sum is equally divided between the spouses.
Last Revised: March, 2001
Social Security Handbook