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Social Security Disability Widow Benefits

When A Family Member Dies

Widow’s Disability Benefits

We should be notified as soon as possible when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.

If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 . You can speak to one of our representatives between 8:00 am 7:00 pm. Monday through Friday. You can also contact your local Social Security office.

Can A Widow Or Widower Receive Disability Benefits

Having a spouse pass away can leave a void you may feel deeper than you could have even imagined. On top of the emotional impact of losing a spouse, there can be some tough financial realities to confront. The loss of a spouse can also come with a loss of critical financial support provided by that spouse. Surviving husbands and wives may be left wondering how to make ends meet. Fortunately, for those surviving spouses of deceased disabled workers, there may be survivor disability benefits available

Be Mindful Of The Payment Cycle

You will not receive any benefits on behalf of your spouse during the month that they pass away. In the case that you do receive the money via check or if its directly deposited into your bank account, the Social Security Administration requires that you return the money to them.

In order to return the money, funds that are received through direct deposit can be sent back by contacting the financial institution directly. If you receive a check, do not cash it. Instead, return the check to the local SSA district office and contact our team for assistance.

There is a one-time lump-sum payment of $255 that is paid to the surviving spouse who resides with the deceased* following the death of their partner. If there is not a surviving spouse, the Social Security Administration will pay a surviving child who is eligible for benefits in the month of the death.

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Social Security When A Spouse Dies: Survivor Benefits Guide

If your spouse dies and you have reached full retirement age, youre eligible for 100% of their benefits.

Gail Kellner

Key Takeaways

  • If your spouse dies and you have reached full retirement age, youre eligible for 100% of their benefits.
  • If your spouse retired before full retirement age, they received a reduced retirement benefit and you will receive reduced survivors benefits.
  • Children up to age 18 and dependent parents may also be eligible for survivors benefits.

Losing a spouse is one of the most stressful events you can go through. In addition to the emotional turmoil and grief, youll also have to figure out finances. When a spouse dies, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration . In this article, well go over the rules and exceptions for receiving these benefits and enable you to build a plan for your survivors benefits.

Who Is Eligible For Survivor Benefits From Social Security

Learn More About Applying for Social Security Benefits

To collect survivor benefits as a widow or widower, you must qualify under one of the following rules:

  • You are age 60 or older, and married to the deceased for at least 9 months
  • Disabled and age 50 or older, and married to the deceased for at least 9 months
  • Caring for the deceased spouses child who is younger than 16 or disabled

Additionally, minor children, dependent parents age 62 or older, and stepchildren or grandchildren may be eligible survivor benefits.

For a family member of the deceased to be eligible, the worker who died must have paid into the Social Security system during their career. Workers earn up to four credits a year . Once the worker has earned 40 credits, his or her family is fully insured under the program.

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What Is The Definition Of Disability Used By The Social Security Administration In Determining Whether A Surviving Widow Or Widower Is Eligible For Benefits As A Disabled Surviving Spouse

The Social Security Administration uses the same definition of disability for the surviving spouse of deceased wage-earners as the one used for disabled wage-earners. Although there are many regulations that precisely define disability, as that term is utilized for the Social Security Administrations programs, there are three general concepts:

  • The individual is unable to do the work they performed before, as a result of a medically diagnosed condition
  • The individual is unable to adjust to other full-time work because of the medically determined condition, including consideration of other vocational factors, such as the individuals age, education and work experience and
  • The individuals inability to work has either lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 consecutive months, or result in the individuals death.

The Social Security Administrations definition of disability is strict. There are no benefits payable for partial disability. If all of the criteria are not met, no benefits are paid.

Should I Discuss My Situation With A Disability Lawyer

The rules surrounding survivors benefit qualifications are complex. It can be difficult to know if you meet the criteria or not. There are many more stipulations than we can possibly cover online, but our attorneys can determine which apply in your case and ensure you qualify before we begin work on your application.

You can apply for surviving spouse benefits directly with the SSA. However, the application process is not as simple as it looks. It often takes several months to get a response about your application for benefits, and most people receive a denial the first time, if your claim is for a disability benefit.

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Contact Our Ssd Lawyer In Scranton

We understand that the intricacies of Social Security Disability benefits following the death of your spouse are complicated. Its essential to turn to our SSD lawyer near Scranton for assistance and guidance during this time. Take advantage of our free case evaluations by calling us toll-free at 800-889-6101 to get started.

*Or was receiving benefits in his or her account or became eligible upon his or her death

Which Programs Provide Benefits To Surviving Spouses

Social Security Widow Benefit Strategies

The Social Security Administration understands that many families depend on the income from Social Security Disability Insurance and other programs to pay their bills and make ends meet. When a qualifying family member passes away, the rest of the family loses access to these benefits, and it causes immense financial stress.

For this reason, they offer special benefits to these families. Known as survivors benefits, they base these monthly payments on the earnings and work history of the deceased spouse. These benefits provide much-needed income for many families.

Depending on your situation, survivors benefits will provide:

  • Reduced benefits beginning when you reach age 60
  • Full benefits once your reach full retirement age
  • Benefits if you are disabled, over age 50, and your disability began within seven years of your spouses death or within seven years receiving survivors benefits
  • Benefits if you are raising a child of the deceased under the age of 16
  • Benefits if you are caring for a disabled child of the deceased.

Even if you decide to remarry, you sometimes may still qualify for survivors benefits based on your deceased spouses work record. This could be true if you are over age 60 or over age 50 and disabled when you remarry.

For a free legal consultation, call

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Ease The Stress And Avoid Mistakes With An Attorneys Help

Weve only covered the basics of this complex area of Social Security law. Everyones circumstances are different and will directly affect eligibility and even the strategy taken with a claim.

If your ex-spouse or spouse has passed away, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible so you understand whether you qualify for disability benefits, as either a widow or widower or as a surviving divorced spouse.

Your initial legal consultation is free and will be highly informative. We can help with your initial application or take your case to appeal a denied claim. We will discuss any questions you have and provide insights into many concerns not addressed here. Call today.

About Marc Whitehead

How Much Could Ssdi Payments Increase In 2023

Nothing is set in stone yet, but looking at the numbers thus far, we can already see a potential increase of 7.6% according to the non-partisan Senior Citizens League based on data collected so far in 2022. However, COLAs are based on third-quarter data. This does mean that things could change. In other words, though this is great news for recipients of social security benefits such as disability, it is too early to start spending that money.

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Overview Of Benefits For Surviving Spouses

Assuming your spouse was currently insured when they passed away, meaning they earned six or more work credits during the previous 13 quarters before passing away, you may be eligible to receive what are known as Widow/Widowers Benefits. There are several different ways to be eligible for these Widows Benefits, and each eligibility type will affect the total monthly amount you are entitled to.

If you are at least 60 years old but have not reached the full retirement age, you are able to receive between 71.5% 99% of your deceased spouses SSDI benefits. However, if you have reached full retirement age, you will receive 100% of your deceased spouses SSDI benefits. Finally, you are eligible for 75% of your deceased spouses benefits if you currently care for a child under the age of 16 who receives survivors benefits from the deceased.

Divorced Spouse’s Survivors Benefit

What percentage of Social Security does a widow receive?

If your ex-spouse was a disabled worker receiving or entitled to receive SSDI, as a surviving divorced spouse, you’re entitled to SSDI benefits if you’re:

  • at least 60 years old
  • at least 50 years old and disabled, or
  • caring for your deceased ex-spouse’s minor or disabled child.

It doesn’t matter if your ex-spouse had remarried before dying. But if you remarry before age 60 , you can’t receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouseunless your new marriage ends before the death of your ex-spouse. However, if you wait to remarry until you reach the age of 60 , your SSDI survivors benefits will not be affected.

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Documents You Need To Apply

Please select the benefit you will be applying for from the list below to see what information and documents you may need when you apply:

If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay applying for Social Security benefits.

In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If we can’t verify your information online, we can still help you get the information you need.

Mailing Your Documents

If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.

Am I Eligible To Receive My Deceased Spouses Disability Benefits

Your ability to collect disability benefits from a deceased spouse depends on three major factors: Your own disability, your age and your status as a childs caretaker.

  • Under age 60, you cant receive a spouses disability benefits based on age alone.
  • If youre between 60 and full retirement age, you can receive between 71.5% and 99% of your spouses disability benefits.
  • If youve reached your full retirement age, you can receive 100% of your spouses disability benefits.
  • If youre between 50 and 59 and you also have a disability, you can receive 71.5% percent of your spouses benefits.
  • If youre caring for a child under the age of 16, you can receive 75% of your spouses benefits.

You may also be eligible for a lump sum death payment of $255 if youre a surviving spouse who was living in the same home as the disability recipient at the time of death.

As you age into different categories, the benefits you receive are subject to change.

Its understandable if you have a lot of questions about how this works. You can discuss your situation with a lawyer at The Robertson Wendt Disability Finkel Law Firm LLC at no charge.

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Eligibility For Ssdi Or Widows Benefits

To qualify for SSDI, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have a severe illness or injury that causes you to be unable to work enough to support yourself,
  • Not earn more money than the earnings cap for SSDI,
  • Your doctor expects your impairment to last at least a year or to be terminal,
  • You have worked long enough at jobs that paid into the Social Security system through Social Security taxes that your employer took out of your paycheck.

To qualify for survivors/widows benefits, you must have been married to someone who paid into the Social Security retirement program through his employment. Some people can qualify for widows benefits after divorcing the person who later died.

When you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefit will automatically convert to what the SSA will call your retirement benefit. A Michigan SSDI attorney can evaluate your situation and advocate for you. Contact us today.

There Are 3 Main Complicating Factors When Dealing With The Social Security Widow Benefit:

Social Security widow(er) benefits
  • Two Different Full Retirement Ages Widows actually have two different FRAs: their Retirement FRA and their Widow FRA. For most people getting ready to elect Social Security today, their Retirement FRA is 66. Their Widow FRA is determined by subtracting two years from their date of birth and using that as their birth year in the standard FRA table. There is no advantage to delaying Widow Benefits past the Widows FRA as there are no delayed retirement credits based on the Widows claim age.
  • Actuarial Reductions The surviving spouse can begin receiving Widow Benefits as early as age 60. However, those benefits will be reduced up to a maximum of 28.5% due to claiming early. To determine the monthly reduction amount, simply take 28.5% divided by the number of months between age 60 and the Widow FRA determined in No. 1 above.
  • Widow Limit The Widow Limit caps the Widow benefit at the larger of the benefit the deceased would have received if he or she were still alive, or 82.5% of the deceased PIA. The Widow Limit only comes into play if the deceased claimed benefits prior to his or her FRA.
  • Lets look at an example that takes these complications into account.

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    Types Of Widow Or Widower Ssd Benefits

    The level of widow or widower SSD benefits you may collect is often based on your age group. The following are the SSD age group categories:

    • Full retirement age This group receives full benefits, or 100 percent of the deceased spouses SSD benefits.
    • At least 60 years of age, but not yet full retirement age This group receives reduced benefits, usually between 71.5 and 99 percent of the deceased spouses SSD benefits.
    • At least 50 years of age and disabled This group receives 71.5 percent of the deceased spouses SSD benefits.
    • At any age when not remarried and caring for a child receiving SSD survivor benefits on the deceased spouses record This group will receive 75 percent of the deceased spouses SSD benefits.

    With regard to the final group, be aware that benefits to a widow or widower caring for a child under 16 years of age, receiving SSD benefits on the deceased spouses record, end when the child turns 16 years old. A widow or widower can continue to receive SSDI benefits, however, when the child is disabled and continues to be in the care of the widow or widower while receiving SSDI benefits on the deceased parents earnings record. A widow or widower is generally required to have been married to the deceased spouse for at least nine months.

    Furthermore, widow or widower benefits can be reduced when a widow or widower is working.

    Eligible For Benefits In The Last 12 Months

    There’s an exception for those who recently applied for retirement benefits. If you became entitled to retirement benefits less than 12 months ago, you might be allowed to withdraw your retirement application and apply for survivor benefits only. You can then reapply for your retirement benefits later when the benefits will be a higher amount.

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    What Are The Eligibility Rules For Disabled Widows/widowers

    Once confirmed that your late spouse paid enough Social Security taxes as a wage earner to qualify for SSDI benefits, you may file a claim for widow/widowers disability benefits by meeting and proving the following conditions:

  • Age Requirement: You must be at least 50 but not yet 60 years of age.
  • Note: Once a disabled widow qualifies for Widow/Widowers Disability benefits, two years later he or she will also become entitled to Medicare benefits.

    Note: At age 60, widow/widowers become entitled to their deceased spouses SSDI benefits without being disabled.

  • You must have been married to the deceased spouse at the time of death and for at least 9 months.
  • : In most cases, the eligible widow age 50-59 cannot be remarried to a different spouse.Note: For an eligible widow 60 years old, remarriage would not disqualify a claim for widow/widower benefits if all other required conditions are met.
  • Prove You Are Disabled: Social Security must find you to be disabled according to its 5-Step Evaluation Process and disability criteria used in the regular SSDI program. SSAs definition of disabled is as follows:
  • Disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

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