Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Social Security Disability Benefits and Death


From start to finish, Social Security Disability claims can take up to two years in Mobile. Unfortunately, during this time it is possible for a claimant to pass away. But what happens to his or her claim if this happens? Underpayments in disability claims follow very specific rules and differ depending of whether the claim is for Disability Insurance Benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

In very general terms, only a surviving spouse can claim Supplemental Security Income underpayments (in some situations, a parent can claim underpayments that are owed to a disabled child). The order of priority is laid out in 20 C.F.R. § 416.542. In Disability Insurance Benefits claims, spouses, children, and the deceased's estate may be eligible to collect an underpayment. Priority for payment can be found at 20 C.F.R. § 404. 503. If there is no one eligible to receive the underpayment, it will be necessary to dismiss the disability claim.

If you have a loved one who passes away during the pendency of his or her Social Security Disability and you believe that you are eligible to receive the underpayment, the first thing you should do is file a Notice Regarding Substitution of Party Upon Death of Claimant. Of course, it will still be necessary to prove that the claimant was disabled during the time prior to his or her death. Once a determination is made, the Social Security Administration will make a determination regarding the amount of benefits owed and to whom they are properly payable.

If you have a loved one who has passed away during the pendency of his or her disability claim, an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you. Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions regarding this issue.

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