Why Can't I Receive My Husband's Benefit Along With My Disability?

Jul 18 2020 - 11:53am

I am 65, almost 66. My husband passed away May 2015, at 65. I was getting $671 a month in widow benefits until October of last year. I have been on disability since October of last year. I was told that I can't get widow benefits and disability together. I had to pick one or the other. I don't understand why I can't receive his benefit along with my disability. It is two different things. It's confusing to me because others have told me that I should be able to get the survivors benefit as well. Thank You for taking the time to read this and I hope you can help with my question. God Bless


I'm sorry for your loss.

No one is allowed to collect more than one full Social Security benefit at the same time. That's simply how the Social Security law was set up by Congress. If a person qualifies for more than one type of Social Security benefit simultaneously, they can only be paid the higher of the two benefit rates. However, if a person is drawing their own benefits and they're also eligible for a higher auxiliary (e.g. spousal) or survivor benefit, Social Security pays the person's own benefit first plus a partial auxiliary or survivor benefit. The two benefit amounts would just add up to the higher auxiliary or survivor rate, though.

Apparently, in your case your Social Security disability (SSDI) benefit rate is higher than your widow's rate, which would explain why your widow's benefits stopped when your SSDI began. If your widow's rate would have been higher than your SSDI rate, Social Security would have paid you your own SSDI benefit plus a partial widow's benefit equal to the difference in the two rates. In either case, though, you'd only be able to collect an amount equal to the higher of the two benefit rates.

Best, Jerry