16th August 2016
Substitution of Party: What Happens When a Disability Claimant Dies?
The loss of a loved one after a long disability can be a difficult time, especially if they were waiting on a disability claim. You may wonder: does my loved one still have a disability claim? In most cases, if your loved one filed for disability before their death, their claim can still continue. Social Security requires a process called a “Substitution of Party” (SOP).
To become the SOP, you sign a simple form letting Social Security know you wish to continue the claim for disability. You will be responsible for gathering medical evidence or other important information for the case. You will need a copy of the death certificate and special release forms to collect medical records. You may also need to give testimony to the judge about the claimant’s work, medical conditions, and limitations if the claim makes it to a hearing.
Ideally, the SOP is the nearest relative to the deceased claimant. This can be a spouse, child, parent, or sibling. It may be a guardian on behalf of a minor child. It can also be a more distant relative, or an executor of the individual’s estate. The best way to find out if you are eligible to be an SOP is to consult with an attorney or the Social Security office. Almost anyone can take on this role.
One thing to keep in mind: the SOP is not always the person who will actually get the claimant’s disability benefits if the case succeeds. Typically the benefits will go to the person or people who would inherit from the claimant. Most often this is children or a spouse, but it can also be parents, siblings, or other parties. In some cases, there is not an eligible party who can receive benefits, and the claim should not be continued. If you are unsure about whether you can receive the claimant’s benefits, speak with an attorney or talk to the Social Security office directly.
About Citizens Disability, LLC: Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Their mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work- helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled.
For more information about Citizens Disability, LLC visit the company’s website: citizensdisability.com