Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are paid to individuals who are unable to work due to an eligible disability. For some families, this monthly benefit helps them avoid extreme poverty. But what if the person receiving these benefits dies, leaving behind a spouse who relied on that source of income to survive? Fortunately, Social Security Disability has a survivor benefit, known as a Widow/Widower Benefit, to address this problem. The information below details who is eligible for survivor benefits and how they are paid out.
Do I Qualify?
If a person passes away while receiving SSDI or regular Social Security benefits, the surviving spouse may be eligible to receive a percentage of the balance of benefits. However, he or she must be age 60 or older, or at least 50 if disabled. In addition, the surviving spouse must be unable to work due to a long-term physical or mental impairment. The surviving spouse is also entitled to a one-time benefit payment of $255 following the spouse’s death. Below are the categories that may qualify you for SSDI survivor benefits, along with information on how to calculate the payments you are eligible to receive.
- A child in your care, who is under the age of 16 years, receives SSDI survivor benefits from your deceased spouse. In this scenario, you will receive 75 percent of the SSDI benefit your spouse was receiving.
- If you have a disability and are at least 50 years old, you will receive 71.5 percent of the SSDI benefit.
- If you are not full retirement age but are at least 60 years of age, you will receive between 71.5 percent and 99 percent of the SSDI benefit.
- If you are full retirement age, you will receive 100 percent of the SSDI benefit.
The application process for Widow/Widower benefits can be complex and confusing. A MA Social Security Disability attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for a transfer of payments following the death of your spouse. If you are eligible, your attorney can help you navigate the process to ensure that you receive full benefits in a timely manner.
As with most things in life, there are exceptions to the rules above. For example, if you remarry before age 60, you are not entitled to survivor benefits. However, if you remarry after the age of 60 (or 50 if disabled), your benefits will not be affected. And remember above when we discussed survivor benefits if you have a child under the age of 16? Well, those benefits usually end on the child’s 16th birthday…unless he or she is also disabled. Further, sometimes SSDI survivor benefits can actually work against you. In certain situations, your own retirement benefits may be greater than survivor benefits based on your deceased spouse’s benefits. A Boston SSDI lawyer can help if you are unsure of the benefits available to you following the death of a spouse.
What Documentation Do I Need?
The documentation below is required to obtain survivor’s benefits:
- Death certificate
- Your Social Security number
- Your deceased spouse’s Social Security number.
- Your deceased spouse’s birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate
- Recent tax forms
When the surviving spouse reaches age 62, SSDI payments may begin to change. This is no different from the change that would have occurred between the ages of 62 and 70 for the original SSDI beneficiary.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Social Security Disability Law Firm
If your spouse passed away and you relied on his or her SSDI benefits to survive, you may be entitled to survivor benefits. The skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you navigate the complex application process. Our experienced attorneys have decades of experience helping individuals collect the SSDI benefits they deserve. We will analyze the details of your unique situation to determine the best legal strategy, and our knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys will be by your side throughout the entire process. If you have questions, we have answers. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.