Surviving Spousal Benefits and Social Security Disability

Can a surviving spouse draw benefits off of a fully insured person after that person’s death? This is a common question encountered in dealing with Social Security Disability. 20 CFR § 404.335 is where the answer is found in the Social Security regulations. However, the eligibility requirements for a surviving spouse in regulation can be boiled down, for the most part, as follows:

  1. The relationship of husband and wife lasted at least nine months immediately before the insured died;
  2. If the relationship did not last for nine months before the insured died (but at the time of the marriage the insured was reasonably expected to live for nine months), the death of the insured was accidental, was in the line of duty while on active duty as a member of the uniformed services, or there has been a previous marriage with the insured that lasted for at least nine months;
  3. The applicant and the insured were natural or adoptive parents; or
  4. In the month before the applicant married the insured, he or she was entitled to, or could have been entitled to, certain Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. AND
  • The applicant must be unmarried unless a remarriage occurs after the applicant becomes sixty years old; and
  • The applicant is not entitled to an old-age benefit that is equal to or larger than the insured’s primary insurance amount; and
  • The applicant must be at least sixty years old or at least fifty years old with a disability.

If a surviving spouse is not entitled to widow’s or widower’s benefits, he or she may be entitled to mother’s or father’s benefits on the earnings record of the deceased spouse if the person is unmarried and in the care of the insured’s child who is entitled to child’s benefits because she is under the age of 16 or is disabled.

There are no spousal benefits under SSI.

Soon, we will discuss widow’s benefits for a surviving divorced spouse.

If you need more information about a Social Security Disability or SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.




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