Ask Larry

Can I Get Disability Now Based On My Late Husband's Record?

My husband passed away October 2022. We have been married since 1986 n had 2 children, one passed away at age 23 (2017). We were legally separated in 1999. However we shared the same residence from 1986-1999 & again from 2005 -2017. He was in an assisted living home when he passed. I was the authorized person in charge of his care all of the way up to removing life support. However, I did ask the funeral home could we make payments to get his ashes n they said we could. When we went to make a payment they stated that they had gotten the state to pay for them, they thought. This ended up being the case and I signed for my remaining daughter to pick them up. Can I now get my disability (my DOB is 04-13-1965) (my late husband's DOB was 11-02-1954) now based on his work record? I have not worked since 2007 n had to quit due to my health. I am epileptic and have scoliosis, PTSD, severe depression, C2 n c3 and severely damaged in my fingers constantly go number, I have severe arthritis in my legs and hips (due to being run over at 10mph when I was 7 by a 1969 Buick that ran completely over both knees n I went over the handlebars of a bicycle at age 14 n slid 25 ft on my face n damaged my neck permanently, therefore I also have arthritis and as I said severe damage to my neck as a result). I also now have a disc out in the center of my back. We were married 36 years. I have already been denied like 8 times due to not following through by missing appointments, as they took my driver's license back in 2003 due to seizures. The man at SS says I cannot now use my husband's work record to apply, can I?

Hi. I'm sorry for your losses. Social Security is required to accept applications from anyone who wants to apply, so you can definitely file an application for benefits on your husband's record. Since you're between ages 50 and 60, it sounds like may be able to qualify for disabled widow's benefits (DWB) now provided that your medical condition is determined to be disabling based on Social Security's standards. If you're not determined to be disabled, then the earliest that you could claim regular widow's benefits is at age 60. The fact that you were legally separated would not adversely affect your ability to qualify for DWB or widow's benefits based on your husband's account.

DWB benefits are calculated at a rate of 71.5% of the deceased spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA), as are regular widow's benefits if you start drawing them at age 60. And, that 28.5% reduction is permanent unless you also qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits based on your own earnings history. You could also reapply for SSDI benefits now, but without knowing your full earnings history I can't tell you whether or not you may be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Even if you don't qualify for SSDI benefits, though, you could potentially claim Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 or later if you have at least 40 quarters (QC) of Social Security coverage. However, if you claim benefits on both your own account and on your husband's account, you could only be paid essentially the higher of the two benefit rates.

Best, Jerry

Mar 18 2023 - 7:38am
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