Our Chicago Disability Law Firm Discusses Filing for Social Security Benefits of a Deceased Spouse (SSDI)

gavel books balance Chicago Disability Law FirmIf you are the surviving spouse of someone who was eligible for disability benefits, a Chicago disability law firm may be able to provide the help you need to collect the benefits you are entitled to. When the primary financial provider of a household dies, the surviving spouse and dependents may be left without the ability to provide for themselves. If your deceased loved one did not have life insurance, you may still be eligible to collect a survivor’s benefit from the Social Security Administration.

A survivor’s benefit requires that you were married to the deceased for a period of no less than one year. Additionally, he or she must have had the minimum number of Social Security credits required for Social Security disability insurance or Social Security retirement benefits. Both types of benefits may provide long-term financial support for the spouse or dependents of someone who was eligible for or actively collected Social Security benefits. Surviving divorced spouses may also be eligible for disability benefits.

Mother’s or Father’s Benefit

If your deceased loved one was eligible for disability or retirement benefits, you may be eligible to receive a monthly benefit check based on his or her disability payments. You may also be eligible if you are currently caring for a child of the deceased under the age of 16 or a disabled child under the age of 22. This provision is called the mother’s or father’s benefit, and it typically requires that the deceased spouse and parent worked for at least 10 of the last 20 years of his or her life. However, a special Social Security guideline allows for the payment of benefits if the deceased worked for at least eighteen months out of the last three years before death. This provision makes the mother’s or father’s benefit significantly more accessible to a greater number of people. The mother’s or father’s benefit comes to an end once the non-disabled child turns 16. However, if a disabled child under the age of 22 ceases to be disabled before aging out of the benefit, he or she will no longer be eligible to receive benefits. Once the surviving spouse and parent turns 60, or 50 if disabled, the mother’s or father’s benefit may resume.

Widow’s or Widower’s Benefit

If you were married for at least one year before your disabled spouse died and he or she was receiving SSDI, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits in several different circumstances. If you are disabled and between the ages of 50 and 60, you can receive benefits as long as your disability occurred within seven years of your spouse’s death. You are automatically eligible to collect these benefits if you are 60 years or older. A surviving spouse who is younger than 50 and not caring for minor or disabled children of the deceased is not eligible for the widow’s or widower’s benefit. A surviving spouse of any age who remarries or becomes eligible to receive higher Social Security benefits is no longer eligible to receive benefits related to the deceased spouse. If your widow or widower’s benefit is based on your deceased spouse’s retirement rather than disability benefits, you will not be able to collect those benefits until you reach retirement age. Retirement age is 66 for anyone born prior to 1956 and 67 for those born after 1960. At age 60, you may be eligible for somewhat reduced retirement benefits.

Divorced Spouse’s Survivors Benefit

If you were divorced from a disabled worker who was receiving SSDI or entitled to but had not yet collected, you may also be entitled to receive benefits. Divorced spouses 60 years or older or 50 years or older, if disabled, may receive SSDI benefits. You may also receive benefits if you are caring for your former spouse’s minor or disabled child. A Chicago disability law firm may be able to help you receive the disability benefits you are entitled to from your divorced spouse.

Survivors Benefits Payments

The amount you can receive as the surviving spouse of a disabled worker is based on your deceased spouse’s monthly Social Security check. This check is based on the past earnings of the deceased worker while they were in the workforce. You will receive a percentage of the monthly amount your spouse received while collecting SSDI. This percentage is based on the amount collected at the time of death. Surviving spouses who are full retirement age receive the deceased worker’s full monthly benefit payment.

Surviving spouses between the ages of 60 and retirement age receive between 71 and 99 percent of the monthly Social Security check. Any surviving spouse who is also eligible for a mother’s or father’s benefit receives 75 percent of the deceased worker’s benefit payment. Children of the deceased who are also collecting SSDI benefits may impact the amount that a surviving spouse can collect.

The total of benefits collected may not exceed 150 to 180 percent of the deceased worker’s SSDI benefit check. A divorced spouse who is collecting a mother’s or father’s benefit is also counted towards this maximum family benefit cap. However, divorced spouses who are disabled or over the age of 60 do not count toward the maximum family benefit.

Lump Sum Death Benefit

There is a special provision offered by the Social Security Administration upon the death of a disabled worker who was entitled to Social Security benefits. The deceased worker’s surviving spouse receives a one-time death benefit, typically of $255. This benefit is only applied if you were living in the same household at the time of death.

Contact a Chicago Disability Law Firm

Applying for Social Security benefits after the death of a disabled worker involves many guidelines and a potentially confusing application process. Survivor’s benefits are time sensitive as most are paid from the time of application rather than the time of death.

In order to receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to after a spouse’s death, contact us today. Applying for disability benefits is a complicated process, so you need a Chicago disability law firm you can trust to represent your needs from sending in an application to appealing a denied claim.