Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits

Widow/Widower Benefits 

The money normally received by a person on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be partially transferred to his or her dependents when that person passes away. These benefits, better known as Social Security Disability survivor benefits, are available only to dependent relatives of SSDI recipients. SSI survivor benefits don’t exist. 

Social Security Disability Spouse Benefits 

If your husband or wife who was on Social Security Disability passes away, you might be eligible to collect benefits for a spouse after the death. There are a few ways you could be eligible for disabled widow benefits. The different eligibility categories affect what percentage of your deceased spouse’s benefits that you are able to collect. 

The categories with their percentages include: 

  • Being at least full retirement age will make you eligible for 100 percent of your deceased spouse’s SSDI benefits. 
  • Being at least 60 years of age but not old enough for full retirement will give you 71.5 – 99 percent of your spouse’s SSDI benefit. 
  • Being at least 50 years of age and disabled before your spouse died, or within seven years of their death, will give you 71.5 percent of your spouse’s SSDI benefits unless you were receiving father’s or mother’s benefits. 
  • Caring for a child less than 16 years of age who receives survivor benefits from your deceased spouse will give you 75 percent of your spouse’s SSDI benefits. 

Additional SSDI Survivor Benefits Rules 

There are some additional rules that can affect your ability to collect a surviving spousal benefit. These include: 

Being Married at Least Nine Months: In order to receive survivors benefits in most cases, you must have been married to your deceased spouse for nine months or more. However, if certain circumstances apply, such as your spouse dying in a violent accident, this may not be a requirement. 

Remarrying: If you get remarried before you turn 60, you will not be able to collect benefits as a surviving spouse. If you are at least 50 years old and disabled, or you get remarried after you turn 60, it won’t affect your SSDI benefits. 

Being an Ex-Spouse: Ex-wives and ex-husbands can still collect SSDI benefits after their spouse dies, but they face a different set of payment and eligibility rules. 

Receiving Retirement Benefits: If the benefit you can receive based on your own work history at retirement is higher than the money you receive from your deceased spouse’s SSDI benefits, you can choose to receive it instead. 

Taking Care of a Deceased Spouse’s Children: If you receive benefits while caring for a child under the age of 16 who receives SSDI survivor benefits, your benefits may end when the child turns 16. However, you may continue to receive SSDI payments if the child is disabled and remains under your care while collecting SSDI benefits. 

Working: If you continue to work while receiving survivors benefits, your monthly payment might be reduced depending on the amount you earn and how old you are. 

Top Family Collection Amount 

Keep in mind that other family members may be eligible to collect survivors benefits as well and there is a limit to how much can be paid out. Most often, family members are limited to 150-180 percent of the deceased’s total Social Security Disability payments. If the percentage of awarded benefits adds up to a higher amount, each family member will receive a lesser portion to bring the awarded amount down to the percentage limit. 

If your spouse received SSDI payments before they passed away and you’re looking to collect on their benefits, speak to a lawyer at Jorgensen Law today. We’ll help you determine your eligibility and fight to make sure you receive a fair amount. Call us at 1-888-855-2948 to set up a free initial consultation.