There are a few scenarios where an individual may be receiving survivor’s benefits and disability benefits simultaneously. Here, the Social Security disability benefit advocates at Disability Associates explain these various scenarios, and how you may be able to qualify.

The Widow(er) of a Disabled Spouse

If your spouse passes away, and was receiving Social Security disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive those benefits in their stead. At the age of 60, widowed spouses may receive reduced benefits, and later, at the window’s full retirement age, full benefits are made available.

Full retirement age varies by birth year, but typically falls between 65 and 67 years of age. Delaying benefits until the age of 70 increases the amount received monthly. The widower will also receive a one-time payment of $255 if they lived with their spouse at the time of their death.

If you care for the child of your spouse who is under the age of 16, or a child who is disabled and receives benefits, you will be eligible to receive your deceased spouse’s benefits at any age. To be eligible, you must not have already, or plan to be, remarried.

It is important to note that Social Security disability benefits cannot be paid to a widowed spouse in the month their spouse dies, as the Social Security Administration must ensure they are eligible before they receive their first check.

As such, if a check is mailed to you, or directly deposited into you or your spouse’s account, it must be returned to the Social Security Administration. Failure to do so could be perceived as benefits fraud, and may negatively impact your ability to receive future benefits.

To receive these benefits, you will need your deceased spouse’s death certificate, your own Social Security number and that of your spouse, your spouse’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate and most recent tax forms. Your local Social Security Office will be able to assess the documents, determine eligibility and explain benefit levels to you.

A Disabled Widow(er)

Disabled widowers who currently receive Social Security disability benefits, are in the process of being approved or do not receive disability benefits may also receive survivor’s benefits. For those currently receiving disability benefits, they will receive the difference between the survivor’s benefits and their disability benefits, if the difference is positive.

This is known as excess survivor benefit. The amount of survivor benefits received will depend on the amount of your spouse’s retirement benefits at the time of their death.

If you are widowed, you can receive this benefit starting as early as the age of 50, instead of 60 for non-disabled candidates. To receive benefits at the age of 50, you must have been disabled before or within seven years of your spouse’s death, and your disability must meet the Social Security Administration’s standards for disability. The disability must also be expected to last at least 12 months, or until the time of your death.

How Disability Associates Can Help

Having a disability advocate in your corner is always important, but doubly so when you are experiencing the trauma that comes with the passing of your spouse. At Disability Associates, our dedicated attorneys work hard to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.