People who apply for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits are usually profoundly ill or severely injured, since the qualifying process for receiving benefits is so strict. Despite the fact that so many people who apply have serious medical conditions, the Social Security Administration takes a long time to review applications for benefits and to determine if a disabled individual is eligible. The SSA also denies a huge number of applications for benefits even from people with serious conditions, so someone who is badly injured or sick may end up stuck in the appeals process for many years... not getting deserved benefits.
In some tragic instances, people who are waiting for the approval of their claim or the processing of their appeal end up dying before a determination is made that they were entitled to benefits. When this happens, it does not necessarily mean the Social Security Administration's obligations disappear.
What Happens if a Disabled Individual Dies Before a SSD Benefits Claim is Approved?
When a disabled individual dies before the Social Security Administration approves a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the SSA may owe money to the person who has passed on. The disabled worker is entitled to back pay for benefits that were owed during the time it took for a claim to be approved or an appeal to be processed.
For those eligible for SSDI benefits, the disabled worker is entitled to back pay beginning five months from the established onset date of the disability (the date at which the condition should have been recognized as a covered disability by the SSA). For those eligible for SSI benefits, back pay may be owed to the date of the benefits application. The disabled worker is still entitled to those benefits even if he has passed away before they could be paid. However, the estate will need to pursue the benefits claim to get the money due.
An experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer understands the process of continuing a Social Security disability claim after the disabled individual has died. To learn more about how we can help you to secure the benefits your family member was owed upon his or her death, give us a call today.