What Options Would I Have For Drawing Survivor Payments On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Dec 7 2018 - 7:17am

Hi Larry,
I have scrolled though and read your answers to others questions, but do not see one that fully answers mine. I just got a fully favorable Decision from the judge for my SSI request, I am age 56. Sadly, my ex husband of 15 years is in the final stages of cancer and is just 58 years old. I know he is collecting SS disability insurance also. I know that the amount I will get is going to be low, but will help. However, when my ex husband passes away, what option do I have about collecting a Survivors Payment from Social Security on his record? Will it switch to his, or do I get a combination, or both, or should I wait to reach full retirement age to collect? To be honest, anything over what SSI gives me will help me financially, so waiting is not exactly what I am hoping to hear. Thank you!


I assume by SSI you're referring to Supplemental Security Income rather than Social Security disability benefits (SSDI). SSI is a needs based program administered by Social Security, and it's intent is to provide a subsistence level income for people who are disabled, blind or age 65 or older and who have little or no means of support.

It sounds like you would probably qualify for disabled surviving divorced wife's benefits if your husband dies, and you would be required to file for those benefits right away as a condition for SSI eligibility. One of the conditions for SSI eligibility is that you must file for any other types of benefits for which you may qualify, including Social Security. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offsets the SSI payment amount by all but the first $20 of a person's other income. So, unless your survivor benefit rate is higher than your monthly SSI payment, if you do qualify for survivor benefits on your ex-husband's record you will likely just end up getting the same total amount each month, or maybe $20 more.

Best, Jerry