Unfortunately, there are cases where the Social Security Disability claimant dies while waiting to be approved for benefits. However, even if the claimant dies while their case is pending, it may be possible for a family member to continue their claim. This family member would be able to receive any benefits the deceased claimant was entitled to before they died. This individual would be deemed the “Substitution of Party” (SOP). It is important to note that the rules for SOP criteria and eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or Title 2) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI or Title 16) benefits are different. Generally, it is easier for a family member to continue a claim as SOP for SSDI than for SSI. There are three main family members who may be the SOP in an SSDI claim. First, a spouse who is living with the deceased claimant or who was entitled to SSDI benefits on the deceased claimant’s record during the month of death is entitled to be SOP. If there is no spouse that fits those criteria, then the second option would be any child/children of the deceased claimant. If the deceased claimant has no spouse or children that fit those criteria, then the third option would be parents of the deceased claimant. On the other hand, SOP options for SSI claims are much more limited. Essentially, only a surviving spouse who was living with the deceased claimant at the time of their death or within six months of their death may continue as SOP. There are a few other limited exceptions to who can continue as an SOP for a SSI claim, including parents of a child who has an SSI application filed and has passed away. Overall, it is important to understand that your claim may continue, and past benefits may be collected even in light of unforeseen circumstances.