I-1-2-19.Claimant Dies Before Decision Issued

Last Update: 1/28/03 (Transmittal I-1-44)

If a claimant or representative submitted a fee agreement before the claimant's death, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or Administrative Appeals Judge (AAJ) issues a favorable decision after the claimant's death, the ALJ or AAJ will:

  • approve the fee agreement, assuming it meets all the statutory requirements for approval and is not otherwise excepted from the fee agreement process; and

  • notify the parties, including the deceased's survivors or estate, of the fee agreement approval.

When the claimant dies before the favorable decision is issued, SSA will continue processing the representative's fee under the fee agreement process only if adjudication results in past-due benefits (i.e., SSA determines that someone is eligible for the underpayment). If SSA subsequently determines that no one is eligible for the underpayment, the component that effectuates the decision will advise the parties that SSA no longer approves the fee agreement and that the representative must file a fee petition to receive authorization for his/her services.


In concurrent title II and title XVI cases, “no one eligible for the underpayment” means that there was no underpayment due under either title.