Social Security Disability Benefits for Widows and Widowers in Arkansas

If your spouse was responsible for your household’s income, and passed away while receiving Social Security Disability (SSD), you may be entitled to continue receiving their benefits even after they’re gone. Even if you did not work, you may be able to claim disability through your spouse’s disability benefits – whether you are disabled or not. Depending on your age, these benefits may be reduced.

If you are a widow or widower in Arkansas that needs to use your deceased spouse’s Social Security Disability benefits, talk to a Social Security Attorney today. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak represents disabled and elderly Arkansans, and works to help them get the Social Security Disability payments they need to keep going.

Claiming a Deceased Spouse’s Social Security Disability

If your spouse was receiving Social Security Disability payments when he or she died, you may be able to continue getting those benefits. Unfortunately, many of the requirements for continuing to receive these benefits are based on age.

If were 60 years old or older when your spouse died, you may be able to start receiving partial benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you have already reached full retirement age, you can receive full benefits instead. The reason for the reduction is that you are supposed to receive the same total benefits over your lifetime, regardless of when you start. If you start early, the payments are reduced to help stretch those benefits for you.

“Full retirement age” shifts depending on when you were born. If you were born in 1939 or earlier, full retirement age is 65. The retirement age increases by 2 months until birth dates in 1945. (E.g. 65 years and 2 months old if you were born in 1940.) If you were born between 1945 and 1956, your full retirement age is 66 years old. Again, this increases another 2 months per birth year until 1962. Anyone born after 1962’s full retirement age is 67 years old.

If you start collecting your spouse’s disability at age 60, you can receive up to 71.5% of the benefits you would otherwise receive through your spouse. If you wait until your full retirement age, you can receive their full benefits.

Disability Survivor's Benefits

However, if you are “disabled” yourself, you can start receiving full benefits through your deceased spouse starting at age 50. For this to work, you must have already been disabled when your spouse died, or you must have become disabled within seven years of their death.

If your spouse died and you continue to care for children, you may also receive full benefits regardless of your age. If you care for shared children under the age of 16, you may be able to claim your spouse’s full benefits. Alternatively, if your children are over 16 but are disabled, the Social Security Administration may continue paying benefits.

Claiming Disability After Your Spouse Dies

If you become disabled in your own right, you may be able to claim disability on your deceased spouse’s record. In many families, one spouse works and the other does not. Since the ability to claim Social Security requires you to have a work history in the United States, you may not have enough “work credits” to claim SSD for yourself. If your spouse worked to support your family, your only way to claim disability may be to use their work credits.

If you are disabled yourself, you can claim SSD payments through your deceased spouse’s work credits if they died after you became disabled. Alternatively, if you became disabled within seven years after their death, you may use their SSD benefits for yourself.

Disability for Spouses

In order to qualify for this, you must be at least 50 years old. If you are under 50, you may not have enough work credits to cover your SSD, and your spouse’s benefits might not cover you. If you worked yourself, you may be able to use your own work credits and claim your own disability benefits.

In either case, you must qualify as “disabled” to get SSD benefits for your own disability. To meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” you must be unable to work because of your condition. If you can still work, the SSA may reduce how much you can receive or reject your application.

Fayetteville Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you or an elderly parent needs disability payments, consider talking to a Social Security Disability attorney. Fayetteville Social Security lawyer Ken Kieklak represents elderly and disabled Arkansans, and fights to get them the disability coverage they need. If you were receiving disability through your spouse, or need disability on your own after your spouse died, talk to an attorney right away. There may be multiple strategies to get you your disability payments. For a free consultation on your case, call (479) 316-0438 today.