Telephone Script for High Priority Tasks Following a Death

When I contacted the Social Security Administration to notify them of my mom’s death, I picked up the phone, dialed the number and was prepared to give them my mom’s information and ask them what I needed to do. When someone answered, I said “my mom died” and proceeded to start crying! I thought later “that is no way to report a death and to handle such a task” and decided to create a script for myself so that it would be – not easier – less difficult going forward.

Here are examples of questions to ask that are on free downloadable forms on our website. They are in the Downloads tab and will help make the task less daunting.

  • Hello, I need to report a death, can you help me?
  • May I get your name and will you spell it for me?
  • What do you need from me?
  • Where and how should I send this information?
  • May I send it to your attention?
  • Is this something I can do online?
  • How will I know this is accurate and complete?
  • What else do you need from me?
  • May I have your direct phone number or email if I have a question?
  • May I check online to see if this is complete?
  • What else do I need to do regarding this?
  • When can I follow up to make sure this is complete?
  • What is the easiest way to manage this?

Keeping notes will really help, not to mention legally prudent. It is easy to forget when you have so much to do and are also grieving.


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