When developing a survivor's claim, the Field Office (FO) learns that the disability
claimant was sent an initial denial or termination notice within 1 year of the claimant's
The alleged impairment was not severe enough to constitute a period of "disability";
The impairment had not lasted, or was not expected to last for a continuous period
of at least 12 months, or result in death; or
The claimant had been working at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level; or
Necessary medical evidence had not been submitted.
Determine the cause of death by:
Obtaining and certifying a copy of the death certificate. For CEFs follow the process
in Faxing Documents into the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF) Using Barcodes -I 81010.090;
Certifying the medical certification block of the death certificate use the SSA-704
(Certification of Death Certificate); or
Ascertaining the cause of death from the local registrar, attending physician, coroner,
hospital records, or the Office of Vital Statistics.
The FO may become aware of the prior denial or termination from information on the
DW01, information obtained during the current claims interview, information on the
initial denial, or from the cessation notice (by review of the official folder). When
in doubt, check the official folder to determine the date of the initial denial or
termination notice, but develop for the cause of death.
In submitting an SSA-704, show all of the information in the "medical certification"
block. Do not undertake any other disability development. Develop the survivor claim
and forward it to the servicing Processing Center (PC) with an SSA-5002 (Report of
Contact) explaining that the claimant died within 1 year of the date of the initial
denial or termination notice.