Ask Larry

Is It True That I'd Have To Be Re-evaluated for SSDI If I Apply For Widow's Benefits?

Hi. I am currently on Social Security Disability for the past 4 years. I’m 59 yeats old. My Spouse just died this October. I called Social Security and then had to be called back weeks later. I asked the girl since I’m on Social Security Disability already can I apply for Widower Benefits. She said I would have to be reevaluated again for SSDI. She said why don’t you just wait until you turn 60 then you can get it automatically. Is this true?

Hi. I'm sorry for your loss. No, what you were told is not true. People receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits are subject to periodic reviews to make sure that they still qualify for benefits, but applying for widow's benefits would not trigger a review. Nor would you automatically start receiving widow's benefits at age 60. You will have to file an application in order to potentially receive benefits from your husband's account.

Since you're over age 50 you are old enough to potentially qualify for disabled widow's benefits (DWB) now, and if your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA) is higher than your SSDI rate then you should almost certainly claim DWB benefits as soon as possible. DWB benefits are reduced for age as are regular widow's benefits when claimed prior to full retirement age (FRA), but as long as you're already receiving SSDI benefits when you claim DWB or regular widow's benefits then the age reduction is removed once you reach FRA.

The medical disability requirements for DWB benefits are the same as those for SSDI benefits, so in most cases Social Security can adopt the SSDI determination to establish DWB entitlement without a new medical determination.

Best, Jerry

Dec 10 2021 - 9:44pm
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