I-2-1-50.Death of Claimant
Last Update: 12/29/14 (Transmittal I-2-129)
For information on when an administrative law judge (ALJ) may dismiss a request for hearing due to the death of a claimant, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-4-35.
Under title II, if there is any person who qualifies as a substitute party under 20 CFR 404.503(b) and wishes to pursue the request for hearing, the ALJ will not dismiss the request for hearing because a substitute party is a person who may be adversely affected by a dismissal. See also Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 02301.030.
Under title XVI, if there is any survivor who may be paid benefits under section 1631(b) of the Social Security Act (see also 20 CFR 416.542(b)) and who wishes to pursue the request for hearing, the ALJ will not dismiss the request for hearing because a qualified survivor is a person who may be adversely affected by a dismissal. See also POMS SI 02101.003.
If the primary issue being appealed is revision of the wage earner's earnings record and a survivor establishes potential entitlement based on that earnings record, the hearing office (HO) will make the survivor a substitute party upon request. It is not necessary for the survivor to establish that he or she may be adversely affected by the ALJ's decision. For more information, see HALLEX I-2-4-35.
B. Claimant Dies Before the Hearing Is Held
If a claimant dies before an ALJ holds a hearing and there are no other parties to the hearing (see HALLEX I-2-1-45), the designated HO staff must determine whether there is a substitute party or qualified survivor, as described in subsection A above. When the record shows there may be such an individual, HO staff will:
Contact the individual directly when the record includes contact information to determine whether the person qualifies and intends to pursue the matter; or
Use the document template in the Document Generation System to request that the servicing field office (FO) obtain the individual's contact information and a statement of the individual's intentions.
The FO will notify the HO when it becomes aware that a party awaiting a hearing has died. The FO will also contact any eligible party, substitute party, or qualified survivor to obtain the necessary information regarding pursuing the claim and forward the information to the HO. See POMS DI 12045.045.