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Substitution of Party and Your Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jan Dils . January 30, 2019

For many, death is an uncomfortable subject. Most of us don’t want to think about it, and planning for death can be difficult. While planning for it can be depressing, leaving your loved ones with some guidance can help ease the pain of loss. One area in which many people struggle to prepare for their death is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Most believe that if they pass, their claim stops. But it doesn’t have to.

In the world of Social Security, there is something referred to as Substitution of Party. If an individual passes away during their claim, their family can still pursue their benefits. For SSDI cases, the Substitution of Party can be made (in order) by the spouse of the deceased, surviving children, surviving parents and, finally, the legal representative of the estate of the deceased.

In order to file a Substitution of Party claim, you must fill out and submit form HA-539, Notice Regarding Substitution of Party Upon Death of Claimant. The two-page form is relatively simple to complete. However, it’s important to read the form in its entirety and fill it out completely. It’s also important to submit a copy of the death certificate of your family member.

Who specifically qualifies as a Substitution of Party? According to the SSA, a Social Security payment due to a deceased beneficiary may be paid to a family member or a legal representative of the estate in the following order:

  1. The surviving spouse who was either living in the same household as the deceased at the time of death or who, for the month of death, was entitled to a monthly benefit on the same record as the deceased;
  2. Children who, for the month of death, were entitled to a monthly benefit on the same record as the deceased;
  3. Parents who, for the month of death, were entitled to a monthly benefit on the same record as the deceased;
  4. A surviving spouse not qualified under 1. above;
  5. Children not qualified under 2. above;
  6. Parents not qualified under 3. above; or
  7. The legal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

So, how does the SSA award benefits if they find that the deceased was disabled prior to their passing? There is one important difference between outcomes when a person who is living is approved and when a Substitution of Party claim is awarded. A Substitution of Party claimant won’t be awarded ongoing monthly benefits. If the ALJ grants the deceased benefits, the Substitution of Party will receive the past benefits only. The SSA will traditionally award benefits based on the date of the deceased’s onset of disability to the date that they passed away. It’s important to note that the Substitution of Party may not actually receive the backpay. However, each case is different. That’s why it’s important to have some sort of guidance when pursuing a Social Security claim.

We understand how difficult the death of a loved one can be. Making funeral arrangements and all the other responsibilities can be exhausting. The last things you want to do is deal with more paperwork and stress. That’s why so many people turn to our law firm when they need help with a Substitution of Party claim. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t call us today, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

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