Can I Get Benefits On My Deceased Ex-Spouse's Record?

Jan 24 2017 - 6:30am

hello,
i am 58 yrs old. i began recieving Ss disability at the age 44 or 45 due to a freak accident losing complete use my right arm. it had been severed to the elbow.
my husband and i were married in 1998, separated in 2002 and divorced in 2011. he passed away at the age of 86.
he recently passed away and i am wondering what my rights are as an ex-spouse survivor ,collecting disability. i know i am entitled to something but i dont know eactly what and if it will be benifical to me or just leave well enough as is is. hence the saying..IF IT IS NOT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!
can i collect both my disability benefit and my deceased ex husbands retirement at the same time? is either one reduced? does the amount change once i reach full retirement age?
i have been reading and reading but am only getting more confused and afriad i will be making a mistake.
i have read the horror stories at the SS office when inquirying about benefits and people are given wrong information by staff members. (one of the stories i read of yours. i am so glad i came accoss your articles and finding someone else to ask)
i also learned that i was eligible to collect from my ex husbands retirement at age 50 because i was disabled. i did not know this until about 3 mths ago. i was told to ask about retro reimbursement? we were still married but seperated at my age of 50.
my disability amount is $906
my ex at death amount is $1,485
Can you please help me decide what i should do and when should i do it? before i turn 60?
i have trouble retaining information as it is told to me so having your answer in writing will help me comprehend and retain what you tell me. i can keep reading it over and over. something i cant do sitting in front of a SS staff member who may just give me the wrong information and i sign something i dont want to sign forever to be stuck with something that isnt right for me.
I thank you in advance for your assistance.
Catherine

p.s. i apologize for my typing method as i can only use one finger to type so i tend to skip the capital letters and punctuation. i would still be here until full retirement age typing this question to you if i typed properly. lol

Hi Catherine,

I'm sorry to hear about your accident.

It sounds like you would be eligible for disabled surviving divorced spousal benefits now. You would not have qualified until your ex-husband died, however, so you wouldn't be due any retroactive payments.

Based on the information in your question, you should file for benefits on your ex-husband's record as soon as possible. Until you reach full retirement age, you should be eligible for 71.5% of the difference between your disability rate and your ex-husband's full benefit rate. You'll receive that in addition to your disability benefits. Then, when you reach full retirement age the 28.5% reduction will be removed, which will bump your combined benefit amount up to your ex's full benefit rate.

Best, Jerry