Millions of retirees rely on Social Security for their income. But after someone dies, Social Security also provides death benefits. Many people don't know much about this death benefit and how it plays into the overall benefits that Social Security offers.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through Social Security's death benefit. It's important to distinguish the death benefit from survivors' benefits, which can be far more extensive and have a bigger impact on a spouse or child's financial situation for years to come. By contrast, the tiny one-time death benefit is almost an afterthought, but Dan digs into the history to point out that it used to be the sole benefit that Social Security paid out after someone died. Dan closes with a look at what you have to do to collect a death benefit and what the deadlines are for filing.

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