What happens to SSDI benefits at death?


A family member of an individual who passes away while receiving SSDI benefits should always contact the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. Unless the SSA is informed of an SSDI beneficiary’s death, checks or direct deposits will continue occurring until the SSA’s system is flagged about the person’s death. However, the system may not be flagged for several months.

Any SSDI checks recieved after the beneficiary has died will need to be returned to the SSA. More specifically, if an SSDI beneficiary receives a check on March 5 and passes away a week later, the beneficiary’s spouse or other family member can keep the check. However, if a SSDI recipient passes away in March and you recieve a check in April, you must return that check to the SSA. Failure to return SSDI benefits you are not entitled to can result in court action or even jail time.

Are Spouses or Children Entitled to a Deceased’s SSDI Benefits?

If the beneficiary’s surviving spouse was living with the deceased at the time of their death, they may be eligible to receive a lump sum, one-time payment of $255. The Social Security Administration also provides survivor’s benefits to eligibile widows and widowers over age 60 or over age 50 and disabled. Unmarried children of deceased beneficiaries who are 18 years old or younger may also be eligible for monthly survivor’s benefits.

Be aware that survivor’s benefits and SSDI benefits are two entirely different things. Spouses and children of deceased recipients of SSDI cannot continue receiving the same SSDI benefits. Instead, the Social Security Administration will determine if they are eligible for either a lump sum payment or monthly survivor’s benefits.

Who Else May Receive Survivor’s Benefits?

A deceased SSDI recipient must have worked a certain amount of years before spouses or children can receive survivor’s benefits. However, if the deceased had no children under the age of 18, then the parents of the deceased, a surviving spouse not living with the deceased or adult children may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits. For deceased SSDI recipients with no immediate family, a person who is legally representating the deceased’s estate may qualify for survivor’s benefits.

What Happens to SSDI Claims in Process When an Applicant Dies?

When a parent or spouses passes away while in the process of filing a claim for SSDI, the children or spouse of the deceased may be entitled to open another SSDI claim. They may also be permitted to simply finish processing the claim the deceased had already started.

Understanding the Social Security Administration’s guidelines for determining eligibility for survivers of an SSDI beneficiary is complicated and time-consuming. In addition, contacting an SSA representative on the phone can result in long wait times and incomplete answers to your questions. Atlanta disability attorney Joel Thrift can provide the expert legal assistance and personal attention you are searching for to determine your eligibility as quick as possible.

For all your disability, worker’s compensation, and personal injury law needs, contact Joel Thrift Law today to schedule a consultation appointment.