Ask Larry

When Will I Begin Receiving 100% Of My Deceased Husband's Benefits?

I am currently receiving disabled widows benefits. I was receiving SSI but when I turned 50 they switched me to disabled widows pay. At what point will I begin receiving 100% of his benefits?

Hi. Unless you were receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits when you started drawing disabled widow's benefits (DWB), you'll never receive 100% of your deceased husband's benefits. DWB benefits are calculated at a rate of 71.5% of the deceased worker's full retirement age rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA), and that 28.5% rate reduction is permanent unless the disabled widow was entitled to SSDI benefits at the time they started collecting DWB benefits.

If you were receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits at the time you became eligible for DWB benefits, then you likely had no choice other than to apply for DWB benefits. SSI is a needs based benefit administered by Social Security, and it is intended as a payment of last resort. One of the conditions for receiving SSI benefits is that you must apply for any other type of benefits for which you're eligible, even if the other benefit amount is reduced for age as a result of claiming it early. So, if you had refused to apply for DWB benefits at age 50, Social Security would have stopped paying you SSI benefits anyway.

Best, Jerry

Jan 30 2023 - 10:36am
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