You may be wondering if you can receive disability benefits if your deceased spouse was receiving disability benefits at the time of their death. In general, you must suffer from a qualifying impairment under Social Security Disability (SSD) rules in order to draw disability benefits. This means you will not receive disability benefits simply because your deceased spouse did. There are survivors benefits available to some families, however. The disability attorneys at Berger and Green can help you determine if you are eligible. You may also be able to use your spouse’s work history to qualify for disability benefits if you suffer from an impairment but do not otherwise qualify.
Contact Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about your options for continuing to draw disability benefits after the death of your spouse. We understand you rely on these benefits to make ends meet and will help you apply for any programs for which you may qualify.
Which Programs Provide Benefits to Surviving Spouses?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) understands that many families depend on the income from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 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 the surviving spouse reaches age 60;
- Full benefits once the surviving spouse reaches full retirement age;
- Benefits for a disabled surviving spouse over age 50 whose disability began within seven years of their spouse’s death or within seven years of the surviving spouse receiving survivor’s benefits;
- Benefits for any widow or widower raising a child of the deceased under the age of 16; or
- Benefits for any surviving spouse caring for a disabled child of the deceased.
Even if you decide to get remarried, you may still qualify for survivors benefits based on your deceased spouse’s work record. This is often true if you are over age 60—or over age 50 and disabled—when you remarry.
Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits on My Own?
If you suffer from a qualifying impairment and can produce medical proof of your disability, you may qualify for SSDI even if you never worked or do not meet the work history requirements for monthly benefits.
To qualify for SSDI, you must earn a certain number of work credits, including some during the last decade before you suffered your injury or illness. In most cases, you cannot receive this type of benefit unless you have the proper number of work credits based on your age. However, if your deceased spouse worked and paid into Social Security via their FICA employment taxes, you may be able to use their work history to qualify if you are over 50 years old. You will still need to meet the rest of the criteria on your own, however.
Do I Need to 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 skilled attorneys can determine which apply in your case and ensure you qualify before we begin work on your application.
At the same time, 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.
How Can I Learn More About My Options for Disability Benefits After My Spouse Passes Away?
When your loved one passes away, you have an obligation to report their death to the SSA. This will stop the benefits they receive. For this reason, it is important to give us a call as soon as possible so we can apply for survivors benefits or SSDI on your behalf. Call 412-661-1400 today to reach a disability attorney at Berger and Green.