Is There Any Legal Action I Can Pursue?

Oct 20 2018 - 10:05am

Hi Larry,
My former husband died. I was on disability. SS took 2 years to diagnose my condition which stemmed from sexual abuse. So that 2 years is a waste. But then SS paid me on my former's record. Four years later, I found that SS under paid me by about one half causing me to live at poverty level. I could get no help for the disability they took 2 years to diagnose. I was on food stamps. I continued to survive in trauma that was extended by their underpayment. I filed suit to get damages and interest. The suit was denied. It still burns me today particularly with the me too movement. The horrific mistake they made significantly caused harm to me...big time. Is there any thing considering the me too movement that I could do today. I can provide you with the case number etc. It was in the Middle District of Florida. I would be most grateful for any help you might give me or if you might refer me to someone. Thank you. Also, I was suppose to be receiving just his ss and now I am working to make ends meet and they have switched it to me receiving half of his and half of mine which I do not understand and thing maybe working is doing me harm financially but cannot get any answers. FYI, I am the one who figured out they were paying me incorrectly. It took them 6 months to sort it out. During that time I got so many differing answers. The trauma of all of this was insurmountable and injurious to this day.. Thank you.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about the problems you've had, but I'm not a lawyer so I'm unable to answer legal questions. My only area of expertise is Social Security benefits.

If I understand your situation correctly, you were already drawing Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) when your ex-spouse of more than 10 years died. Assuming that you were between ages 50 & 60 at that time you could potentially qualify for disabled survivor benefits in addition to your SSDI, but only if your ex's primary insurance amount (PIA) is higher than your SSDI rate. If it is, what you should likely be receiving is a combined benefit equal to a) your full SSDI rate, plus b) 71.5% of the difference between your full SSDI rate and your ex's PIA (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615350). If that's not what you're getting, then you may want to check with Social Security for an explanation.

Assuming that your situation is as described above, when you reach your full retirement age (FRA) Social Security should remove the 28.5% reduction currently being applied to your survivor rate. That should raise your combined benefit amount up to at least the full amount of your ex's PIA, assuming that he didn't receive reduced retirement benefits prior to his death.

Best, Jerry