Dealing with the loss of a spouse is never easy. It is even more challenging if you are trying to navigate the Social Security claims process. You may be wondering: Can I get widow benefits through Social Security disability? The answer is ‘it depends.’ While survivor benefits are not guaranteed through disability, you may be eligible for compensation. Here, SSDI attorney Harold W. Conick explains how survivor benefits work under the Social Security disability program.
Social Security Disability Income and Survivor Benefits: An Overview
As a starting point, it is important to clarify you are not automatically eligible to receive disability benefits on behalf of a deceased spouse. However, if you are yourself disabled, it is possible that you will qualify for survivor benefits through Social Security.
Generally, Social Security survivor benefits are available to people who have reached retirement age. Once you are at retirement age, you have the right to draw survivor benefits on a deceased spouse’s work record. In fact, assuming you meet the income requirements, you may be able to begin drawing a reduced survivor benefit as early as age 60.
Disabled Spouses May Be Able to Qualify for Social Security Benefits Early (Age 50)
Federal insurance provides additional legal protections to a disabled spouse. Under federal regulations, a disabled widow may be able to qualify for Social Security survivor benefits as early as age 50. In this scenario, you may be eligible for full survivor benefits based on a spouse’s work record without being ‘penalized’ for drawing benefits early.
Depending on your financial circumstances and your work history, this may be your best option for getting support. To qualify under this rule, you must have become disabled before your spouse passed away or within seven (7) years of their death. If you have specific questions, an attorney can help you understand your options.
You May Be Eligible for Greater Social Security Benefits Based on a Spouse’s Record
Finally, in some cases, a disabled individual may be able to qualify for greater benefits through their spouse’s work record. Social Security benefits are paid, in part, based on how much a worker contributed to the insurance program. Contributions are made through years of FICA payments. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax is the federal payroll tax. If your spouse had a long work history and earned a higher income, your best option may be to apply for survivor benefits or disability benefits through their record. You may also be eligible to draw survivor benefits through a spouse before transitioning to drawing your own benefits.
Call Our Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area SSDI Lawyer for Immediate Legal Help
Our greater Chicago metropolitan area Social Security disability attorney is an experienced and reliable advocate for people and families. We will help you maximize your disability compensation. If you have any questions about SSDI and survivor benefits, our team can help. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation. We represent clients throughout the greater Chicago metropolitan area.