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What happens when a claimant dies and there is an SSD application pending? Can a family member still receive  SSD benefits on behalf of the deceased? The answer is yes. Cannon Disability Law can help your family after the death of a loved one who filed an application for SSD benefits.

Sadly, this happens because many people die waiting for the SSA to make a decision about their SSD application. It can take years to obtain a decision from the SSA. The reason that it can take years, is the length of the five step Social Security appeal process.

For instance, the initial stage of the application usually takes 3-4 months for a decision. And, the decision is usually a denial. The claimant has 60 days to appeal an initial SSA decision. The next stage of the process, reconsideration, takes another 3-4 months. Sometimes, the second stage takes longer because the SSA sends the claimant to their doctor. It can take a number of months for SSA to receive the medical report from one of their doctors. Then, it still takes more time for them to make a decision.

claimant dies social security disability benefits for chronic kidney disease


A family member can file the proper paperwork and continue a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The SSD claim does not die with the person who filed the claim.

SSI claims, however, are not the same as an SSD claim. The only time a family member should pursue an Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim is if the claimant filed the application in the distant past.

The reason for that is SSI benefits are not payable any month after death. Therefore, only past due benefits, from the time the SSI application was filed to the time of death, would be available to a family member. In order to obtain those benefits, a family member would need to file a substitution of party.


An SSDI claim doesn’t die with the claimant. SSDI claims are also known as Title II claims. Social Security may decide, even after a person has died, that he or she qualified for monthly SSDI benefits before death.

SSA calls this situation an “underpayment.” The following list shows the order that the SSA uses when they pay out benefits. It shows who may collect an SSDI underpayment:

  • a surviving spouse who was living with the disabled person, or who was entitled to SSDI benefits on the person’s record, during the month of death
  • any child or children entitled to benefits on the deceased person’s record during the month of death, and
  • any parents of the decedent entitled to benefits on the deceased person’s record during the month of death.

If none of the above relatives are alive, the SSD benefits will go to any surviving spouse, child, or parent, who doesn’t qualify under the above rules. Otherwise, the payments flow to the estate of the deceased.


In order for the SSA to continue an SSD claim for a deceased person, they will need the proper paperwork. You should send a copy of their death certificate to the SSA. Additionally, you will need to send the SSA Form HA-539 – “Notice Regarding Substitution of Party Upon Death of Claimant” and SSA-1724 “Claim for Amounts Due in the Case of a Deceased Beneficiary.” Both of these forms are online at Social Security’s Website. Additionally, you can get them by visiting the local SSA office.

Some people die while they are waiting for benefits. No one wants this to happen. However, if your family member passes away, the case may be able to continue. You can contact our office for free, either by calling us or using our contact page on this website. When you call us, expect for us to answer your questions for free.

Also, it does not cost you anything for us to look at your case or to accept you as one of our clients. Additionally, we are only paid an attorney fee if we win your SSD benefits. If we do not win, then you do not owe an attorney fee. This lets you hire an attorney when you do not have a job or money to pay upfront attorney fees.


In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in benefits for our clients. If you want to win benefits, then you need to hire an attorney with the experience to win your case. Also, you need a lawyer to show the SSA that they should pay you SSD benefits. We can do that. Contact us today.

If you want to learn more about our lawyers, then read our About Us page. For instance, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. She has also won thousands of SSD cases. Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has many year of legal experience helping people win their SSI and SSD benefits. We are experts. You can trust us to help you win SSD benefits.

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Also, we help our clients with their Medicare benefits. Our lawyers and staff can help you file an application for benefits using the SSA’s website.

Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. There are also many forms you will need to fill out. If you have questions about these forms, then we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us for a free review of your benefits today.


Our attorneys and our staff work hard to provide every client with an excellent legal team. When you ask for our help, our goal is to ease the stress of the benefit review process. Also, it is important not to give up on a case. Even if your family member dies, it is possible for you to be paid benefits. No matter what happens in your SSD case, our firm can help you at every appeal level.

If your case needs an appeal at the lower levels, prior to the hearing, then learn more about how to appeal. We can help you file your appeal online. Every appeal has a time frame. Typically, you have 60 days to appeal an SSA decision. Additionally, we can help you if you case needs an appeal to the Appeals Council. Learn more about Appeals Council review.

We will also help you file your application for SSD benefits. Sometimes, it isn’t easy to answer all of Social Security’s questions. That is where we come in. Our lawyers and staff can help you understand what the SSA is really asking about your health. You need to replace your income to support your family. If you can no longer work, we are the legal team that can get you benefits. Contact us today. Put our experience to work for you.

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