Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits for Widow

Widow and Widower SSD Benefits

SSD Benefits for Widows and Widowers

There are about 5 million widows and widowers who receive monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse’s earnings record, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Widows and widowers can collect benefits sooner when they are disabled, however, and different categories of eligibility affect the percentage of a deceased person’s Social Security Disability (SSD) 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 SSA’s 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.

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 (65 for anyone born in 1939 or earlier and 67 for anyone born in 1962) – This group receives full benefits, or 100 percent of the deceased spouse’s 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 spouse’s SSD benefits.
  • At least 50 years of age and disabled (the claimant’s disability must have begun within seven years of the spouse’s death) – This group receives 71.5 percent of the deceased spouse’s SSD benefits.
  • At any age when not remarried and caring for a child receiving SSD survivor benefits on the deceased spouse’s record – This group will receive 75 percent of the deceased spouse’s 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 spouse’s 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 parent’s 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.

The SSA states that disability is defined as “the inability to engage in any ‘substantial gainful activity’ (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) 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.”

The SSA will consider you disabled if: (1) you cannot engage in the work you performed before the onset of your disability, and (2) the organization decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your current medical condition.

Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits

A surviving divorced spouse can get the same benefits as a widow or widower when a marriage lasted 10 years or more. A surviving divorced spouse, who is caring for a child who is disabled or under 16 years of age and entitled to benefits on a deceased person’s SSA record, does not have to satisfy the length-of-marriage rule. That said, the child must be the natural or legally adopted child of the surviving spouse.

When a surviving divorced spouse qualifies for retirement benefits on their own SSA record, they can switch to their own retirement benefits as early as age 62. Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse do not affect the benefit amounts other survivors receive based on a deceased person’s earnings record. Eligibility for survivors’ benefits are not affected when a surviving divorced spouse remarries after turning 60 years of age, or after age 50 if disabled.

“The maximum family benefit” is the maximum monthly amount of SSD benefits that can be paid on a deceased worker’s earnings record to surviving family members each month. The total amount of benefits payable to the family of a deceased worker is dependent on whether that individual reached the age of 62 prior to their death. Further, the calculated amount of benefits paid will not exceed 150% of the first $1,144 of the worker’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), 272% of the worker’s PIA from $1,144 to $1,651, 134% of the worker’s PIA from $1,651 to $2,154, or 175% percent of the worker’s PIA over $2,154.

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.

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