It is a worst case scenario: your spouse is out of work, going to multiple doctors (and medical costs) while awaiting his or her disability hearing, then he or she passes away. There is grief at your loss, but also fear of the debt and bills that piled up over the last few years. You and your spouse prayed for Social Security to go through before, but can you get it now that he or she is gone?
The answer is possibly yes. If your spouse was “insured” through Social Security, then these individuals are eligible to be substituted in order of priority: 1) a surviving spouse; 2) a child of the deceased individual; 3) the parent or parents of the deceased individual; 4) a legal representative of the estate of the deceased. If your spouse was not insured and seeking only Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, then the surviving spouse is only eligible if he or she living with the claimant within six months immediately preceding the month of death. Though the surviving spouse cannot get continuing benefits, if the deceased is found disabled, then he or she is entitled to backpay, or the benefits that he or she should have received up until the point he or she passed away.
We are Chattanooga Social Security Lawyers and we help those seeking disability benefits, including those seeking benefits as a substitution of party. Do not assume just because your spouse died from his or her disability that the disability judge will automatically find him or her disabled. If you need help securing disability benefits, contact us for a free consultation.