My husband died while his Social Security disability application was pending. What happens now?

We are sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. Please know that you are not alone. Many families experience this same problem. Your loved one filed for Social Security disability because his serious condition that kept him from working was likely to last more than a year or result in death. Then, the Social Security disability application took longer than expected or the applicant’s condition deteriorated faster than expected. Either way, the result was that the application was still pending before the Social Security Administration (SSA) when the applicant died.

The Process May Continue After Your Loved One’s Death

As the surviving spouse, you may be able to continue the Social Security disability application after your loved one has died. While you will not be able to get monthly payments for any time after your loved one’s death, you may be able to get payments for the months that your loved one was eligible for Social Security disability prior to his death. This may be a significant amount of money if the application process took a long time or if your loved one was involved in the Social Security appeals process after an initial denial of his application.

Should You Continue the Application Process?

The decision is yours to make and depends largely on how many months of benefits you think you may be able to recover. We hope that this information helps you make an informed decision and we invite you to read our FREE Social Security Disability Fact Sheet if you have additional questions about eligibility or the application process.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law