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.
- 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.
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.
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What Happens To Widow’s Benefits When You Reach Retirement Age
If you’re receiving disabled widow’s benefits, they will automatically convert to regular widow’s benefits when you turn 60.
And, no matter what age you were when you began collecting widow or widower benefits from Social Security, when you reach full retirement age, your benefits will convert to retirement benefits, if your retirement benefits will pay you more.
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Survivors Benefits For Children
Children under the age of 18, or up to 19 if going to elementary or secondary school full time, can get survivors benefits based on the deceased parent’s earnings history. If the child became disabled before he or she was 22, benefits are available for the child regardless of age. In addition to the biological child of the deceased worker, an adopted child, stepchild, grandchild, and even step-grandchild may be eligible for the child’s benefit. The child must be unmarried.
Eligibility For Widows Benefits Under The Social Security Act
Statistics show that about four million widows and widowers receive monthly Social Security benefits based on the earnings record of their deceased spouse. For many of these Widows or Widowers, but especially for women who may have been out of the workforce, these are benefits which provide funds crucial to paying for the essentials of daily living.
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How To Use This Information
Each survivor’s situation is different. Talk to a Social Security representative before you decide to take benefits.
If you know what the worker’s yearly lifetime earnings were, you can use our Online Calculator to get a rough estimate of what the benefits would be for the surviving spouse at full retirement age.
If you know what the widow or widowers benefit is at full retirement age, you can use the information for the survivor’s year of birth to find out how much the widows or widowers benefit would be at various ages.
What Percentage Of Social Security Benefits Does A Widow Or Widower Receive
The surviving spouse can receive 100% of the benefits at full retirement age. If the surviving spouse is between age 60 and their full retirement age, they can receive reduced benefitsusually 71.599%. If the surviving spouse is disabled, they can begin receiving 71.5% of the benefits at age 50. Surviving spouses with children under 16 receive 75% of the benefits
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Ssd Benefits For Widows And Widowers
There are about 5 million widows and widowers who receive monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouses earnings record, according to the Social Security Administration . Widows and widowers can collect benefits sooner when they are disabled, however, and different categories of eligibility affect the percentage of a deceased persons Social Security Disability insurance that the widow or widower may collect.
A report from the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration estimated that the SSA underpaid about $131.8 million to 9,224 beneficiaries who were age 70 and older in one recent year. The problem stems from the SSAs assumption that a Social Security application for either survivors or retirement benefits is an application for both situations simultaneously. To avoid this confusion the applicant would have had to specify that they wanted to delay applying for retirement benefits.
If you need help obtaining widow or widower SSD benefits in Kentucky, it is best to get assistance from an experienced attorney in navigating this complex application process. The Paul Baker Law Office handles all types of SSD claims for clients across the greater Barbourville area. Call us or contact us online now for a free claim review.
Get Help From An Attorney
This article aims to introduce readers to this complex area of Social Security law. Every individuals circumstances are different, influencing eligibility and even the strategy used in filing.
Suppose you have lost a spouse or ex-spouse. In that case, we urge you to speak with a Social Security lawyer immediately to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits, either as a widow or widower or as a surviving divorced spouse.
In addition to providing you with a highly informative initial consultation, a lawyer can assist you in preparing your initial application or take your case to appeal if your claim is denied.
Applying for Social Security benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you seek SSDI benefits, check out our article about what you should not tell a disability doctor. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!
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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How Much Does A Widow Get When A Spouse Dies
Benefit amounts change if the surviving parent cares for a minor or a child with a disability. Generally, a surviving widow or widower with a dependent receives a 75 percent benefit. Additional dependents like elderly relatives factor in the final amount. The Social Security Administration reviews the entire family when determining the benefits. They look at benefits already received, like disability benefits.
Regardless of the number of surviving family members left, Social Security does limit the number of benefits received each month. The amount typically does not exceed 180 percent of the available rate. If your surviving parent has not reached full retirement age and has earned more than $50,000 their benefits might be reduced.
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Can You Get Widow ‘s Benefits And Social Security Disability At The Same Time
The practical answer is no. You generally can’t draw both Social Security disability and widow ‘s benefits at the same time. But if you qualify for both programsthat is, you’re a disabled worker who gets SSDI benefits based on your own work record, and you qualify for the widow ‘s benefit based on your deceased spouse’s SSDIyou can receive the amount of the benefit that would pay you more.
For example, let’s say you’re a disabled worker getting $1,800 in monthly SSDI benefits, and you became eligible for widow ‘s benefits when your spouse died. Social Security won’t pay more than the higher benefit amount.
So if you become eligible for a widow ‘s benefit of $2,300 per month, Social Security would continue to pay your SSDI benefit plus another $500 per month in survivors benefits .
But if you become eligible for a widow’s benefit of only $1,600, you’d continue to receive only your SSDI benefit of $1,800, since it’s higher.
How To Get Social Security Benefits As A Disabled Widow
To collect survivors benefits as a disabled widow or widower, Social Security must find you have a disability that prevents you from doing a substantial amount of work. You generally have to either meet the requirements of one of Social Security’s listed disabilities or prove that there are no jobs that you can doeven simple sit-down jobs that require little walking or lifting.
Learn more about qualifying medically for disability benefits.
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Other Things You Need To Know
There are limits on how much survivors may earn while they receive benefits.
Benefits for a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse may be affected by several additional factors:
- If you remarry before age 60 , you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married.
- If you remarry after age 60 , you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s Social Security record.
- If you receive benefits as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse.
- In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and allow the other benefit amount to increase.
- If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefits as a survivor may be affected.
However, if your current spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse’s benefits on their record. If that amount is more than your widow’s or widower’s benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.
Amount Of Survivors Benefits
The amount of your monthly Social Security survivors benefit check will depend on your deceased spouse’s earnings record. You’ll receive a percentage of the monthly amount your deceased spouse received or was eligible to receive in SSDI benefits at the time of death. Here are the general rules:
- A surviving spouse who’s reached full retirement age will receive 100% of their deceased spouse’s monthly benefit.
- A surviving spouse between age 60 and full retirement age will receive 71-99% percent of their deceased spouse’s monthly amount.
- A surviving spouse receiving a mother’s or father’s benefit will get 75% percent of their deceased spouse’s monthly benefit amount.
However, if your deceased spouse’s children are collecting SSDI benefits at the same time, your survivors benefit might be reduced. The total of your and the children’s benefits can’t be more than the maximum family benefitgenerally 150% to 180% of your deceased spouse’s monthly SSDI benefit.Note that the benefits paid to a divorced spouse based on being over 60 or disabled aren’t counted toward the maximum family benefit and won’t affect a current spouse’s or child’s benefits. But benefits paid to a divorced spouse collecting a mother’s or father’s benefit are counted toward the maximum family benefit.
Answer A Few Questions To Check Your Eligibility
When people who were receiving Social Security Disability Insurance dies, the money they were receiving can go to their dependents, including a spouse, children, and even elderly dependent parents. These after-death benefits are known as “survivors benefits.”
SSDI is a monthly disability payment that the federal government provides to individuals who have sufficient work history see our overview of SSDI. Survivors benefits are not available to the dependent relatives of SSI recipients.
Here are the various categories of relatives who are eligible to receive survivors benefits.
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.
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Divorced Spouses Survivors Benefit
If your ex-spouse was a disabled worker receiving or entitled to receive SSDI, as a surviving divorced spouse, youre entitled to SSDI benefits if youre:
- at least 60 years old
- at least 50 years old and disabled, or
- caring for your deceased ex-spouses minor or disabled child.
It doesnt matter if your ex-spouse had remarried before dying. But if you remarry before age 60 , you cant 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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Social Security Widow Benefits
- There are a number of conditions which must be satisfied before a surviving spouse may be deemed eligible to receive social security survivor benefits. Firstly, the Social Security Administration will assess the work history of the widows deceased spouse.
- When the deceased spouse was working, that spouse must have accrued a certain number of work credits. Workers can receive up to four credits annually. No worker is required to exceed 40 credits, or 10 years of work, for benefit eligibility.
- The number of credits required to receive benefits varies. This requirement is based on the age at which the worker dies. Younger workers need fewer credits for a surviving spouse to receive benefits. The SSA will evaluate each individual on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they qualify.
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Surviving A Divorced Spouse
Its possible to receive widow/widower benefits if your ex-spouse passes away, however, your marriage needs to have lasted at least 10 years. You will need to provide proof that your marriage was at least 10 years. If you choose to remarry after the age of 60, your remarriage may not have an impact on your eligibility.
For Your Widow Or Widower
There are about four million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse’s earnings record. For many of those survivors, particularly older women, those benefits help to provide the necessities of life.
Widows and widowers can receive:
- Reduced benefits as early as age 60.
- Benefits as early as age 50 if they have a disability AND their disability started before or within 7 years of your death.
- Benefits at any age, if they have not remarried, and if they take care of your child who is under age 16 or who has a disability and receives childs benefits.
If widows or widowers qualify for retirement benefits on their own record, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62.
If a widow or widower who is caring for your children receives Social Security benefits, they’re still eligible for benefits. This applies if their disability starts before those payments end or within seven years after they end.
If a widow or widower remarries after they reach age 60 , the remarriage will not affect their eligibility for survivors benefits.
If applying for disability benefits on a deceased workers record, they can speed up the application process if they complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of their appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
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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.