If someone was receiving Social Security Disability benefits and they died, their benefits immediately cease. You should report the death to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible. In some cases, a funeral director could report the death as part of their services. If this is not the case, you will have to contact your local Social Security office or report the death in person. You will also need your loved one’s Social Security.
Additionally, you will have to return any disability checks received during the month your loved one passed. To illustrate this, if your loved one died in October, the check received in November would have to be returned to the SSA. If you fail to do this, or continue to collect disability checks, you could be subject to fines and criminal prosecution. However, any checks received in October or earlier do not have to be returned.
However, just because your loved one has died does not mean you are not entitled to collect disability benefits. A surviving spouse, or ex-spouse, could be eligible for widow benefits. Additionally, children of the deceased could qualify for survivors benefits. Our Fayetteville Social Security Disability benefits lawyers are available to help you navigate these difficult waters. Call (479) 316-0438 to set up a free and confidential appointment.
Steps To Take If Your Loved One Died While Receiving Disability Benefits
If your loved one died and was receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you must inform the Social Security Administration. More specifically, you should send the SSA a copy of the death certificate along with a “Notice Regarding Substitution of Party Upon Death of Claimant” (Form HA-539) and a“Claim for Amounts Due in the Case of a Deceased Beneficiary” (Form SSA-1724). Our Arkansas disability lawyers could assist you with this process and any other steps that might be required.
Qualifying for Spousal Benefits
Qualifying surviving spouses or ex-spouses could begin collecting benefits starting the month the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary died. However, according to the SSA, it is critical to start the application process immediately. Many benefits are not retroactive, so if there is a delay in approving a claim, you could lose benefits you were otherwise entitled to.
There are two types of Spousal Benefits depending on whether the survivor is disabled or not. If you are not disabled, you might receive full benefits when you reach the full retirement age or receive reduced benefits if you are sixty or over.
If you are disabled, there are specific benchmarks you will have to meet. To be more precise, you will have to be between the ages of fifty and sixty and suffer from a qualifying medical impairment. The disability must have also started within seven years of your spouse’s death.
Your surviving children might also be eligible for Survivors Benefits if your child is unmarried, under eighteen, or nineteen if they are currently a full-time student in a secondary school. Furthermore, they must have a disability that began before the age of twenty-two.
Continuing a Social Security Disability Claim if the Claimant Dies
An SSDI claim does not necessarily end if the claimant passes away. In some cases, the SSA could determine that the deceased would have qualified for SSDI benefits before their death. Under these circumstances, an eligible survivor could receive an “underpayment.” Under SSA rules, the following individuals are eligible.
- A surviving spouse who was living with the deceased before their death or who would have otherwise been eligible for SSDI on the deceased’s work record during the month of the death
- A child or children that would have been entitled to SSDI benefits under the deceased’s record during the month of their death
- The deceased’s parents if they were entitled to benefits under the deceased’s work history during the month of their death.
If there are no eligible survivors under the above criteria, the underpayment would be paid to any surviving spouse, child, or parent. If there are no surviving eligible individuals, the underpayment benefits would be paid to the estate. Contact our experienced Fort Smith disability attorneys if you have any questions regarding your loved one’s benefits claim.
Continuing a Supplemental Security Income Claim After a Claimant Dies
If your loved one was applying for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the rules for underpayments are much more straightforward. They are also significantly more narrow. If you are a surviving spouse who was living with someone who was applying for SSI benefits at the time of their death, or within six months of their death, you may continue the process if the SSI application was filed. The SSA could waive the residency requirement if you were receiving SSI.
If your child was applying for SSI benefits and passed away, you could also collect any underpayments. However, the child must have resided with you within six months of their death.
Typically, if someone dies before filing their SSI claim, another family member is prohibited from filing a new application on the deceased’s behalf. The only exception to this prohibition is if the deceased were given a protective filing date before they died. If a protective filing date was granted, a family member usually has sixty days to file an SSI claim. Our Springdale disability lawyers are available to answer any questions you might have.
Our Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorneys Offer Free Consultations
Losing a loved one is always difficult. Getting their financial affairs in order is often an additional burden. Failing to report the death of someone who was receiving Social Security Disability benefits and continuing to collect those benefits could result in a criminal charge. Our Benton County disability lawyers have helped others in a similar situation, and we can help you. Call (479) 316-0438 to arrange a free consultation at our law offices.