What Should My Father Do Now?

Feb 9 2018 - 10:03am

my mom passed away in Dec. My dad applied for SS benefits was denied. Even though he is seventy-two and can only work 100 days out fo the year as a substitute teacher, they said he made too much money. But he won't be able to keep doing this forever. He has tried to call to appeal but he can never get through and the internet process is confusing him. He is exhausted and is ready to give up, but he needs that money every month and time for the appeal is running out. Is there any way you can point us in a direction so he can secure these benefits.


I'm sorry for your loss.

If your father's claim for widower benefits was disallowed, it's not because of his work or earnings. People like your father who are full retirement age or older can receive any type of Social Security benefits to which they are entitled regardless of how much they are earning.

If your father's benefit rate on his own record is higher than the amount that your mother was receiving, then it's likely that's the reason that his claim for widower's benefits was denied. The surviving member of a couple is normally eligible just for the higher of their 2 benefit rates, not both. If that's not the reason for your father's claim being disallowed, I can't imagine what the reason might be.

If your father wishes to file an appeal and can't visit an office or get through on the phone, he could print out the appeal form and mail it to his nearest Social Security office. The form for filing the first step of appeal (reconsideration) can be found here: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-561.pdf.

Best, Jerry