The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that there are about 5 million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on their deceased spouse’s earnings record. And for many of these surviving family members, the benefits keep them out of poverty. Even though SSD benefits are available for widows/widowers, many surviving spouses do not know that they are still eligible to receive their late spouses’ benefits. Read on for more information on how to apply for SSD Survivor Benefits.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits?
A widow or widower can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60. If they are full retirement age or older, they are eligible to receive full benefits. If you are age 50 and disabled (and your disability began before or within seven years of your loved one’s death), you also qualify for benefits. And those who are caring for the deceased spouse’s children will continue to receive Social Security benefits, as long as the disability starts before those payments end or within seven years after they end.
As long as the widow or widower is not remarried, they can receive survivor benefits at any age if:
- They take care of the deceased loved one’s child under age 16
- Are disabled
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits
As long as all you can meet all the requirements, you can apply for survivor’s benefits. Here are ways to apply:
- The best way to apply: Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday during business hours.
- You cannot apply for these benefits online.
- Once you contact your local office, request an appointment with an SSA agent.
- Deaf or hard of hearing claimants should call 1-800-325-0778 (TTY phone number).
- Disabled claimants can speed up the application process by filling out an Adult Disability Report and bringing it to their scheduled appointment.
You must bring the following documentation with you to your appointment at your local Social Security office:
- Death certificate or a notice from the funeral home
- Your Social Security number as well as the number of your deceased spouse
- Deceased spouse’s birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Most recent tax forms
Widowed? Here’s What Else You Should Know About Survivor Benefits
One of the most important things to know about your widow/widower benefits is that no benefits are paid the month in which your spouse died. If your late spouse’s check is mailed or deposited into a joint account, that amount must be returned to the SSA. If the SSA determines that you, as the surviving spouse, qualify for benefits, they’ll transfer the payments from your late spouse’s account to you.
Additionally, a surviving spouse will also receive a one-time Widow/Widower Benefit of $255. This is only for those who are living with their spouse at the time of his/her death.
Schedule a Free Meeting With One of Our Local Disability Advocates
If you still have questions, an experienced disability attorney or advocate near you can help. They can answer any questions you have about widow/widower survivor benefits. Sign up for a free phone call today to get confidential advice or claim help by phone.
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