20 CFR 404.392
The sole issue before the Appeals Council (AC) was whether a lump-sum death payment (LSDP) was payable on the worker's earnings record.
The worker, who was receiving disability insurance benefits, died on November 29, 1982. On December 3, 1982, his widow applied for the LSDP on his earnings record, but she died on December 8, 1982, before receiving payment. Their son was appointed administrator of the widow's estate on December 21, 1982; completed an SSA-1724, Claim for Amounts Due in the Case of a Deceased Beneficiary, on January 7, 1983; and paid the worker's funeral expenses on August 10, 1983. On the basis of this evidence, an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that the LSDP on the worker's earnings record was payable to the son on behalf of the widow's estate.
Section 202(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act), as amended by Public Law 97-35, provides, in pertinent part, that, for deaths occurring after August 1981, the LSDP shall be paid in the following order of priority:
(1) The widow or widower of the deceased worker who was living in the same household as the deceased worker at the time of death. If there is no such person, or if such person dies before receiving payment, then such amount shall be paid to ...
(2) The widow (as defined in section 216(c)) or widower (as defined in section 216(g)) who is entitled (or would have been so entitled had a timely application been filed) to benefits based on the deceased workers' earnings record for the month of death; or if no person qualifies under paragraph (1) or (2) or if such person dies before receiving payment;
(3) In equal shares to each child who is entitled (or would have been so entitled had a timely application been filed) to benefits based on the deceased worker's earnings record for the month of death.
The AC disagreed with the ALJ's decision. For deaths occurring after August 1981, section 202(i) of the Act, as amended by Public Law 97-35, no longer provides for the payment of a LSDP to the person who paid the deceased worker's funeral expenses. There is no dispute that the worker died after August 1981 and that he and his widow were living in the same household at the time of his death. Although the widow applied for the LSDP on the worker's earnings record, she died before receiving payment. In addition, no one was entitled to or eligible for benefits as the worker's widow or child for the month of his death. Accordingly, the AC determined, under section 202(i) of the Act, that no LSDP was payable on the worker's earnings record.
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