From start to finish, Social Security Disability claims can take from one to two years in Michigan. Unfortunately, during this time it is possible for a claimant to pass away while his/her case is pending. This has happened twice in the past few months.
What happens to his/her claim if this happens?
Underpayments in disability claims follow very specific rules and differ depending of whether the claim is for SSD or SSI benefits. In very general terms, only a surviving spouse can claim SSI 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 SSD 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/her Social Security Disability and you believe that you are eligible to receive the underpayment, the first thing you should do is get a copy of the death certificate and than 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/her disability case, contact our office and our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys who will help you, contact our office immediately to help you with your Michigan Social Security Disability case.