An application to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) does sometimes take a significant amount of time to process. Unfortunately, there are times in which an individual passes away while still pending to receive benefits. This happens more often than one might think, as some disabilities tend to be more severe than others. When this does occur, the family of the deceased applicant may choose to “continue” the application in order to receive an amount up to what the applicant might have been awarded. This is known as a substitution of parties.
Although regular benefits would obviously not be awarded to the surviving party of a SSDI applicant, a lump sum amount is indeed available. This amount is known as an underpayment. The priority of individuals who would receive this would begin with the spouse of the deceased, followed by a child or children, and finally any parents. If none of these parties exist or are available, the benefits would go to the estate of the deceased individual.
Although an underpayment for a deceased SSDI applicant is something that one can pursue, it is not necessarily a guarantee. There is a six month window in which a substitution of parties claim must be followed and there is usually a need to show sufficient reasoning for obtaining such benefits. If you are currently pursuing a substation of parties claim, it is helpful to have an attorney on your side that is well-versed in Social Security law and can help you win your case and receive the largest underpayment possible. To learn more about how we at the Franco Firm can serve you in this role, please call (813) 872-0929.