Of Death and Toilet Seats

$255 and $640. One of those is the current Social Security death benefit and the other is the price that the United States military was paying for a toilet seat 40 years ago. Care to guess which is which?

While some think Social Security is going down the toilet, the truth is the government paid more for toilet seats 40 years ago than they pay for a death benefit under Social Security today! Yes, the current death benefit under Social Security is $255. But wait, there is more good news. That benefit, while at one time payable to everyone, has had the list of qualified recipients reduced to spouses and dependents of the deceased. In other words, if you leave behind no spouse or dependent children, the $255 does not even get paid.

So how will the care of your body be paid after you die? Social Security, if even applicable, takes weeks to pay and falls far short of even the most basic services of any local funeral home. And unlike Medicaid, there is no program to pay for said care if you have no money. There is no longer even a “pauper’s field” where the indigent are buried. Wards of the state are simply cremated.

This is why it is important to ask questions now and get the answers you need. The burden of your care will be left to those you leave behind and the only way that can change is if you make it so.

It is time to have that talk, and no, it will not be about toilet seats. It needs to be about what you want, what you need, and how to make it happen. Then not only will you be able to live, laugh and love without the shadow of this unknown, you will also know that unlike the government paying way too much for what they needed, you family will not wind up in the same predicament when selecting a funeral provider.