It can take up to two years from the time you file an application for disability to the time when you appear before an Administrative Law Judge at your hearing. Unfortunately, some claimants will pass away before they attend their hearing. So, what happens then?
When this happens, certain relatives of the claimant are allowed to step in and complete the claim. They will attend the hearing on their relative’s behalf, and answer questions regarding what they observed about the difficulties their family member had due to their impairments.
Which relatives are allowed to step in as a Substitution of Party depends on what type of claim has been filed.
For Social Security Disability Insurance cases, the substitution can be made by the spouse of the deceased, surviving children, surviving parents, and lastly the legal representative of the estate. The substation follows this order, so the parents cannot step in before the surviving spouse.
In Supplemental Security Income cases, the only relative who may step in as substitute for the claimant is a surviving spouse who was living with the claimant within six months immediately preceding the month of their passing.
In the case of minors, the parents of deceased children who were living with them within six months of the date of their passing are also eligible substitutes.