Ask Larry

Is It Correct That My Disabled Son Didn't Receive Any Benefits After My Husband Died?

My husband died in 2021 and was collecting SS. I am his wife and am 61 and have a 20 autistic spectrum son. He was also adopted so he is still getting Adoption Assistance until 21. Then will go on SSI I believe. I also have a 17 year old daughter and am getting SS for her each month as she is under 18 after my husbands death.
I do not know if I can collect on husbands SS at 62 and then mine at 66 and 8 months or the best way to do SS for myself because I will have my disabled son still. Also my son being disabled and he did not receive any benefits after my husband died is that correct?

Hi. I'm sorry for your loss. Your son wouldn't automatically start collecting Social Security survivor benefits. If your son is age 20 and if he's disabled then he may be able to qualify for disabled adult child (DAC) benefits, but only if he applies for and is approved for those benefits. If your son is mentally incapable of applying for benefits himself, then you should be able to file an application on his behalf.

As for your options, you could potentially apply for widow's benefits now and wait until later to apply for your own benefits. However, your best filing strategy depends on a number of different factors, such as whether or not you're working and how much you earn, whether or not your son qualifies for DAC benefits, and your and your husband's comparative benefit rates.

It sounds like your best strategy for claiming benefits would likely be one of the following:
1) File for survivor benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher benefit when it reaches its highest potential rate. Our software ( could help sort out all of your options so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing benefits for you and your children.

Best, Jerry

Mar 13 2022 - 12:45pm
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