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What To Know About Spousal Disability Benefits

  • Life is a journey that is better traveled with a companion you can call your partner. Losing a loved one can be one of the most painfully difficult things to endure in life. In time, the severity of the pain from your loss may lessen, but then you must face the realities of living without your partner.  This is an even greater burden for people suffering from a chronic disability. If you have lost the financial support of a partner, filing for disability benefits may be one way to secure your financial future. This blog is intended to help you understand what spousal benefits may be available to you.

    An Overview

    It is important to be well-informed about spousal disability benefits. When someone dies, a current or former spouse may be eligible for Social Security benefits under certain conditions. If the spouse is disabled and therefore unable to carry out normal activities of daily living such as maintaining gainful employment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has devised a disability benefits program that provides financial assistance; however, you may need to know a few things before filing for spousal disability benefits.

    The Social Security Administration bases its survivors' benefit amount on the earnings of the person who died. The more they paid into the Social Security Administration's insurance trust fund over their years of employment, the higher the survivor benefits will be up until a limit prescribed by law. If your spouse had a disability for which they were receiving benefits, the spousal benefits scheme may be different. The Social Security Administration will decide the amount you are entitled to after a thorough assessment of the case. It is important to remember that benefits will be reduced if your spouse began collecting benefits before 62 years of age. Usually, the amount of benefits a surviving spouse is entitled to depends on the age and the effect of the disability. Depending on the situation, the spouse may get 75 to 100 percent of the worker’s monthly amount.


    There are various rules and regulations that you may need to know if you are planning to apply for spousal disability benefits. Whether or not you are eligible should be one of the very first concerns. There are several criteria that must be met, and these will depend on multiple circumstances, several of which are discussed below.

    Benefits when 62 years of age- Spousal benefits can begin being collected at 62 years of age, if your spouse has already applied for benefits by that point; however, early retirement will reduce your benefits. The benefit amount will be reduced based on how many months you have remaining until reaching full retirement age of eligibility.

    While caring for the minor child- Just as mentioned above, it is worth elaborating that you as a spouse will be eligible for getting such benefits if you are bringing up a child under sixteen years of age. But there is a twist: the child support allowance will continue until the age of eighteen, while the spousal benefits will stop when the child turns sixteen unless the spouse is ready to retire or have a specific disability.

    While the spouse is caring for the disabled child- If you are taking care of a minor child who is disabled and have already been collecting Social Security benefits, you too can receive spousal support when your child turns 18. It is helpful to know that, as the spouse, you must be the one to take care of the child. Also, all medical support and care must be documented.  The important thing to know is that disabled children are covered under Social Security, but the application process to obtain these benefits can be arduous.

    Early retirement can affect benefits- 

    This is true of many Social Security benefits. If you, as the spouse, start collecting spousal benefits before retirement, you can reduce the amount of your benefit, as previously mentioned.

    Benefits for former spouses 

    In case your marriage has ended in divorce, your former spouse will still be eligible for spousal disability benefits. However, there are a few required conditions, as noted below:

    ●The marriage must have lasted at least ten years.

    ●The former spouse must be at least 62 years of age.

    ●The former spouse must not have remarried.

    The rules of eligibility for this benefit are similar to those for other spousal benefits, as described above; however, there is one notable exception. A person can begin receiving benefits even before the former spouse has begun receiving theirs. In this case, however, the person must be at least 62 years old, and the divorce must have been finalized for at least two years if not yet having reached normal retirement age.

    If you are struggling with a disability, you can file for spousal disability benefits. To get approved for benefits, you will need to provide extensive relevant paperwork. Hire a Social Security Disability attorney to handle all the legalities on your behalf. A qualified attorney will be able to help you navigate the complex process successfully.

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Berke Law Firm, P.A.
Berke Law Firm, P.A.

Mr. Bill Berke handles workers’ compensation, social security disability, defective drug/device litigation, junk fax litigation.


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