When an applicant for Social Security disability benefits dies while an application is pending, certain family members may be able to pursue the claim to recover the benefits to which their loved one would have been entitled if he or she had not passed away. In some cases, family members may be able to apply for benefits on behalf of their loved one even if their loved one did not file a disability application while still alive.
Continuing Pending Claims
In some cases when applicants for SSDI have passed away, the Social Security Administration will notify the decedents’ beneficiaries that there are open claims for which they might be entitled to benefits. However, the agency will not take a lot of time attempting to figure out who to notify, and in many cases, it won’t do so. People can continue claims on their own by sending copies of the death certificates of their loved ones with other forms to notify the Social Security Administration that they are substituting themselves on behalf of their deceased loved ones. Eligible parties include the surviving spouses, children or parents of the decedents in that order of preference.
Filing New Disability Claims
In some cases, the beneficiaries may file claims for their deceased loved ones after they die even if they did not apply while they were still alive. If the decedent contacted the SSA about potentially filing a claim before he or she died, the relatives may have up to six months after the death to file a new claim. If the decedent did not contact the SSA about applying for benefits, the family members will need to file a claim for benefits within three months of the death.
The benefits period is closed, meaning that it will only be for a finite period. The maximum period that might qualify for benefits will be from the date that the decedent was disabled until his or her death. Some family members may also be eligible to receive survivors’ benefits in addition to the underpayment of the Social Security disability benefits that their loved ones should have qualified for based on their disabling conditions.