Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits is a program that allows individuals to receive Social Security Disability based upon a deceased spouse’s earnings record. This program is intended for surviving spouses that were not the main provider for the family.
Generally, to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits a claimant needs to have paid into Social Security and have earned enough work credits in the right quarters to have technical eligibility. Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits allows claimants that normally would not be eligible on their own record, to file for Social Security Disability benefits under their deceased spouse’s earnings record. This comes up in cases where the surviving spouse acted as the stay home provider for the family.
Additionally, this program is beneficial for claimants that are eligible for Social Security Disability on their own record, but have a smaller earnings record than the deceased spouse. Essentially, the surviving spouse that is found disabled would then collect under the deceased spouse’s earnings. This allows claimants that were not the main provider of the family to receive a greater amount in benefits. This program would not be beneficial in instances where the surviving spouse was the main provider because that individual would simply file under his own record.
To receive these benefits, the surviving spouse must be found disabled within seven years of the deceased spouse’s death and be 50 years old. A surviving spouse can also collect under this program at age 60 without being found disabled.
It is important to understand that marriage can affect the eligibility for Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits. If the surviving spouse remarries before the age of 60, then that individual cannot collect under this program.
It is best to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney on questions regarding Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits.