Eligibility Of Widows Or Widowers To Receive Social Security Benefits
According to the Social Security Administration:
AT PRESENT, THERE ARE ABOUT 5 MILLION WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS RECEIVING MONTHLY SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS BASED ON THEIR DECEASED SPOUSES EARNINGS RECORD. AND, FOR MANY OF THOSE SURVIVORS, PARTICULARLY AGED WOMEN, THOSE BENEFITS ARE KEEPING THEM OUT OF POVERTY.
The widow of a spouse receiving SSI benefits is eligible to continue receiving full benefits after the age of retirement, or may receive reduced benefits at age 60.
If the widow is disabled, and the disability began within seven years of the spouses death or earlier, they may receive Social Security benefits as early as age 50.
You may find all these rules of eligibility confusing. If you or a loved one is a disabled widow or widower, we encourage you to contact us at the Mike Morse Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help you sort through the legal rules and give you a clearer understanding of your eligibility for Social Security benefits.
How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Social Security Survivor Benefits
A surviving spouse must have been married for at least one year to be eligible to receive their spouse’s Social Security death benefits. However, if the surviving spouse is the parent of the spouse’s child, the one-year rule is waived. A divorced spouse may be eligible to receive benefits if they were married to their former spouse for at least 10 years.
Can Widows With No Work Experience Get Disability Benefits
If you’re an older worker, Social Security has a special “vocational profile” that can make it easier to qualify for disability because of your age. Social Security must automatically find you disabled if you:
- are age 55 or older
- have no “past relevant work”
- have no formal schooling past the 11th grade, and
- have a severe impairment.
It’s much easier to prove that you have a severe impairment than to prove that you meet the requirements of a listed disability or that there are no jobs you can do. The SSA defines a “severe” impairment as one that significantly limits your ability to perform one activity needed to do most jobs, such as:
- walking, sitting, standing, pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying items
- hearing, speaking, or seeing
- understanding and following simple directions, or
- interacting with co-workers and supervisors, or adjusting to changes in the workplace.
If your ability to do physical activities is significantly limited, Social Security should find your impairment severe. In fact, for Social Security to deny you by saying your impairments weren’t severe, the agency would have to find that you have only slight abnormalities that have only a minimal effect on your ability to work.
You May Like: Dairy Farmers Of America Employee Benefits
A Few Other Situations:
- If you already receive benefits as a spouse, your benefit will automatically convert to survivors benefits after we receive the report of death.
- If you are also eligible for retirement benefits, but haven’t applied yet, you have an additional option. You can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other benefit later.
- For those already receiving retirement benefits, you can only apply for benefits as a widow or widower if the retirement benefit you receive is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor.
If you became entitled to retirement benefits less than 12 months ago, you may be able towithdraw your retirement application and apply for survivors benefits only. If you do that, you can reapply for the retirement benefits later when they will be higher.
Chapter : Who Is Eligible For Survivor Benefits From Social Security
- A widow or widower age 60 or older who was and did not remarry before age 60
- A surviving divorced spouse who was married to the deceased for at least 10 years
- A widow or widower of any age caring for the deceaseds child who is under 16 or disabled and receiving benefits on their record
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is: younger than age 18 or age 18 or older with a disability that began before 22
- Parents of the deceased worker who are 1) at least 62 2) were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their income, and 3) whose own Social Security benefit is not larger than that of their deceased child
Did you Know?
If you were married to the deceased for at least9 months, you could be eligible for survivors benefits.
Recommended Reading: What Are Typical Employee Benefits
Social Security Survivor Benefit Rules
There are some specific guidelines to be aware of that apply when collecting survivor benefits. First, you should know that you cant receive Social Security survivor benefits on top of your own retirement benefit, if you are approaching retirement or already retired. The Social Security Administration will only pay out the higher of the two benefit amounts so theres no double-dipping.
Next, there are limits on how much survivors can earn while receiving benefits. If youre under full retirement age your benefit amount could be reduced, based on what you earn. For 2022, the Social Security Administration reduces survivor benefits by $1 for every $2 you earn above $19,560. In the year you reach full retirement age, the deduction changes to $1 for every $3 earned above $51,960.
If youre a widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse, then remarrying could also affect your benefits. If you get married again before age 60 then you cant receive Social Security survivor benefits while youre married. If you get married after age 60 then you could still qualify for benefits based on your deceased spouses Social Security record.
Chapter : How Are Social Security Survivor Benefits Calculated
When a worker pays into the Social Security system over the course of their life, they accumulate credits. A worker can receive up to four credits a year. For example, in 2020, workers will receive one credit for every $1,410 they earn. When your spouse has earned $5,640, they have earned their four credits for the year.
In order to claim retirement, a worker needs 40 credits. However, the number of credits required to provide survivor benefits for the workers family depends on the workers age when they die. This means that the younger a person is when they pass away, the fewer credits they will need for their family members receive survivor benefits.
When someone retires, or when they die, the amount of their benefit is calculated based on their earnings over their lifetime. This is the amount that survivors will receive all or part of. To calculate their benefit, Social Security adds up the workers income during the years they made the most money. They then index that total against average wages across the country during those years. This results in the workers Average Indexed Monthly Earnings . The Social Security Administration only includes the portion of a workers income up to the maximum taxable earnings limit. This is the amount that is taxed for Social Securityin 2020, thats $137,700. If your spouse earned more than that, the higher earnings will not be included in the calculation because these monies were not taxed by Social Security.
Did you Know?
Read Also: Tax Benefits Of Investing In Real Estate
Survivor Benefits By Age And Claim Date
As a surviving spouse, you can receive up to 100% of a deceased spouses Social Security benefit but only if wait until your full retirement age before collecting. This FRA is slightly different from your typical Social Security FRA, but similarly depends on your birthyear. See the chart below:
Many widows and widowers choose to claim survivor benefits before they reach their FRA. If you do so, your monthly benefit will be reduced depending on the number of months prior to your FRA that you claim. For someone born in 1955, whose FRA is 66, we show below the percentage of Social Security benefits that a widow would receive:
Note that unlike Social Security earned benefits , there is no incentive to wait until after your FRA to claim. Your survivor benefit will not increase by delaying your claim date further.
Survivor Benefits: Receive Up To 100 Percent Of Your Late Spouses Entitlements
If you are eligible to collect Social Security benefits upon retirement, your spouse or dependents may be eligible for survivor benefits in the event of your death. The rules can be complicated and often change, which is why having an Advisor with the RSSA® credential on your side is so important. Well help you navigate the process to help ensure you receive all of the benefits that are legally yours.
Don’t Miss: Grandview Medical Center Employee Benefits
Who Is Entitled To Survivors Benefits From Social Security
How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies SSA.gov/benefits/survivors
Social Security is a key source of financial security to widowed spouses. About 7.8 million individuals aged 60 and older receive Social Security benefits based, at least in part, on a deceased spouses work record. These surviving spouse beneficiaries are overwhelmingly women.
These beneficiaries include 3.6 million people who are eligible only as widowed spouses. Another 4.2 million who are entitled to benefits based on their own work records but whose deceased spouses benefit amounts were higher than their own, will receive higher benefits as individuals .
Who Qualifies For Widow Benefits
Generally speaking, a widow or widower may qualify for survivor benefits if the individual is at least 60 years old and has been married to the deceased individual for at least nine months at the time of death. Other qualifications can include being the surviving spouse of a Social Security beneficiary from whom you are divorced.
Read Also: Dic Benefits And Social Security
Social Security Widow Benefits: What You Need To Know
How can you help your parent reach financial stability? When a spouse dies, finances are far from the mind. Between arranging funeral services, contacting family members, and helping your parent survive, worrying about finances seems an impossible mountain to climb. But it doesnât have to be. Learn the basics about social security widow benefits, income limits, and other important information you need to know now. Educate yourself now so you can prepare for the future.
For Your Surviving Divorced Spouse
If you have a surviving divorced spouse, they could get the same benefits as your widow or widower if that marriage lasted 10 years or more.
Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse won’t affect the benefit amounts your other survivors will receive based on your earnings record.
after they reach age 60
If your former spouse is caring for your child who is under age 16 who has a disability and gets benefits on your record, they will not have to meet the length-of-marriage rule. The child must be your natural or legally adopted child.
Also Check: Are There New Medicare Benefits
Social Security Income Limits
Does your loved oneâs current income affect their eligibility for social security? If your parent has passed full retirement age, their income level does not affect their survivorâs benefits. In most cases, they can work and earn extra income without worry. However, income earners who have not reached full retirement age might see their benefits reduced. Does your parent receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments? These can also affect their benefits.
Social Security Survivor Benefits Explained
Social Security survivor benefits are paid to eligible family members of workers who have passed away. That can include a spouse, child or even a parent. Benefits are received as a monthly payment, the same way regular Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits are paid.
Survivor benefits can be used to cover day-to-day living expenses that would otherwise have been covered by the deceased persons income. So going back to the example of a widow with two young children, survivor benefits could be used to pay for housing, utilities, food and other basic expenses.
Bottom line, Social Security survivor benefits can help ease financial strains created by the loss of a breadwinner. While the benefit amount thats received may not fully replace lost income, survivors can count on having some money coming in on a regular basis.
Also Check: Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits
How Much Will I Receive
The dollar amount of Social Security payments depends on how much your deceased spouse earned while working and what age you/he or she were when signing up to receive your benefits. To get a better estimate of your Social Security benefits, you can use one of the Social Security Administration’s online calculators.
A widow’s benefit is generally calculated on the benefit your late spouse was receiving from Social Security at the time of death. The AARP says that the actual amount of your payment will differ according to the following factors:
If you have reached full retirement age, you may receive 100 percent of the benefit.
If you claim survivor benefits between age 60 and your full retirement age, you may receive between 71.5 percent and 99 percent of the deceased’s benefit.
If you apply on the basis of caring for a child who is under 16 or disabled, you may be able to collect 75 percent of the late spouse’s benefit, regardless of your age.
It’s important to note that you will not receive a survivor benefit in addition to your own retirement benefit Social Security will only pay whichever amount is higher. Also note that if you receive a government pension, some or all of your Social Security widow’s or widower’s benefit may be affected by the Government Pension Offset. You can maximize your Social Security spousal benefits by waiting until you have reached full retirement age.
If You’re Already Receiving Retirement Benefits
For those already being paid retirement benefits, they can only apply for benefits as a widow or widower if the current retirement benefit being received is less than the survivor benefit. In other words, they’ll pay you the higher of the two benefits. However, both benefits cannot be combined and taken at the same time.
Don’t Miss: How To Claim Retirement Benefits
When Will I See The Increase In My Social Security Checks
The COLA goes into effect with December benefits, which appear in checks received in January 2023. Social Security payments are made on Wednesdays, following a rollout schedule based on the beneficiary’s birth date. So if you were born from the 1st through the 10th of the month, your benefits are paid on the second Wednesday of the month.
If your birthday falls between the 11th and 20th of the month, your checks are paid on the third Wednesday, and you’ll see your first COLA increase on your Jan. 18 check.
Those born between the 21st and the end of the month receive benefits on the fourth Wednesday, which, in 2023, is Jan. 25.
Get the So Money by CNET newsletter
What Percentage Of Social Security Benefits Does A Widow Receive
What Percentage of Social Security Benefits Does a Widow Receive?
If you are married to a person who is insured for SSDI benefits at the time of their death, you may be able to collect a large portion of their monthly SSD benefit payment. How much you are entitled to receive from your deceased spouses SSDI benefits depends on several factors.
In this blog post, we at MJ Ellis Disability Law want you to learn how a surviving spouse becomes eligible and how the amount of the widows benefit is determined. If you are wondering about your eligibility to receive surviving spouse benefits after you lost your spouse, call or email me at MJ Ellis Disability Law. Ive been representing people with disabilities and their families for decades and I want to help you.
Also Check: Federal Government Employee Housing Benefits
Maximizing Widow And Widower Ssd Benefits And Social Security Benefits With Help From Kentucky Social Security Attorneys
The timing of your claim for widow or widower benefits as well as Social Security benefits can be very important. Depending on your age, it may be more advantageous in some cases to delay claiming one benefit when you are entitled to both. In some cases, one benefit may provide a higher amount than the other until you are of a certain age. In other cases, you may be entitled to more benefits if you delay claiming any benefits until reaching a certain age, and then potentially switching to another type of benefits thereafter.
Because of the complexity of this process, it is crucial to understand all of your options. If you need assistance in obtaining widow or widower SSD benefits in Kentucky, you should talk to a qualified disability attorney. A lawyer from the Paul Baker Law Office can aid you in evaluating all of your potential benefits options and all legal filing regulations involved.
The Paul Baker Law Office has been handling SSD claims for clients all over Kentucky for over two decades. Our firm is dedicated to helping clients seek the most SSD benefits they are entitled to over the course of a lifetime. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
How Much Would Your Survivors Receive
How much your family could receive in benefits depends on your average lifetime earnings. The higher your earnings were, the higher their benefits would be.
These are examples of monthly benefit payments:
- Widow or widower, full retirement age or older100% of your benefit amount.
- Widow or widower, age 60 to full retirement age71½ to 99% of your basic amount.
- Disabled widow or widower, age 50 through 5971½%
- Widow or widower, any age, caring for a child under age 1675%
- A child under age 18 or has a disability75%.
- Your dependent parent, age 62 or older:
- One surviving parent82½%.
- Two surviving parents75% to each parent.
Percentages for a surviving divorced spouse would be the same as above.
There may also be a special lump-sum death payment.
Also Check: Sam’s Club Employee Benefits