As many disabled people know and have experienced, Social Security disability can be a long process. The time from inital application to hearing can last up to 2 years. Unfortunately, that long wait time means that sometimes disabled claimants die waiting for their benefits. But what happends to that money if it's a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? That money can sometimes go to a spouse or a parent (if the claimant was a disabled child). However, this CANNOT go to the estate of the deceased or to his or her children. See 20 C.F.R.§ 416.542.
These rules are pretty specific. If you are a surviving spouse or parent of a deceased claimant who had a claim for SSI pending at the time of his or her death, you should speak with an experienced Social Security attorney to determine what can happen to that money.