If you recently lost a loved one who was receiving Social Security disability, survivor benefits may be available to you as a monthly cash benefit. The Social Security Administration (SSA) explains, “The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program.”
Eligibility for Survivors Benefits
Your loved one must have worked at a job that withheld Social Security taxes for a certain number of years in order to qualify for survivor benefits. The following surviving family members may be eligible to receive benefits:
- Surviving spouses age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disabled);
- Surviving spouses of any age who care for the deceased’s children aged 16 and younger or disabled;
- Children under 18, children up to age 19 if enrolled full-time in school or disabled children of any age (as long as the disability developed prior to age 22);
- Stepchildren, grandchildren and adopted children under certain circumstances;
- Parents aged 62 and older if they were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support; and
- Surviving divorced spouses, under certain circumstances.
Dealing with Special Circumstances
Most applications for Social Security disability survivor benefits are relatively straightforward, but special circumstances may complicate the process. For instance, if you are not a spouse or a young biological child, you will need adequate proof that you relied on the deceased for support. Another special circumstance that sometimes arises is when a widow already receives Social Security disability and wants to qualify for survivor benefits. In order for her to qualify, she must be due a higher benefit from her husband’s work history than from her own work record.
Folks in these types of situations can benefit greatly by speaking to a disability attorney. A lawyer will be able to tell you exactly what types of benefits for which you qualify, what types of information and forms to collect, and how to increase your chances of securing your benefits.
For a law firm in Winston-Salem that’s dedicated to helping families with Social Security benefits, consider Patton Brown Law. We will be happy to discuss your claim with you and help you obtain the benefits you and your family need. Contact us today at 855-860-2150 for a free consultation.