As a two-income family, Susan and Phil relied on both their incomes to help raise their two children. It was quite a blow when Susan had to stop working because of a debilitating heart condition, but her disability benefits covered some of their financial loss. Unfortunately, Susan died while waiting for a heart transplant. However, Phil’s financial problems may ease when he learns that surviving spouses may be entitled to SSDI or SSI benefits.
Some Families Depend on SSDI and SSI Benefits
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. When someone stops working because of a disabling condition, they may qualify for monthly SSDI benefits. Social Security requires proof of disability and a certain number of work credits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another government benefit managed by the Social Security Administration (“Social Security”). Generally, Social Security might pay SSI benefits if you:
- Age 65 or older;
- Blind; or
- Have a limited income;
- Have limited resources.
Other requirements relate to:
- where you live;
- whether you are a U.S. citizen or national;
- where you live; and
- whether you are confined to an institution at the government’s expense.
You may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits. Although the programs are similar, qualifying is quite different. SSDI requires work credits, but income doesn’t matter. However, people applying for SSI must have income and resources below Social Security’s limits.
What Spouses Can Expect as Survivors
While surviving spouses may be entitled to SSDI or SSI benefits, you may be confused about what to expect. It is complicated.
Surviving spouses of people who receive SSDI or SSI benefits may start to receive their deceased spouse’s benefits. Certain conditions apply, however. Eligibility depends on age, your own disability, and whether you support a child under age 16 who receives benefits. In some cases, divorce spouses may receive survivor’s benefits. However, a widow or widower who remarries may lose their SSDI payments.
Social Security bases some SSDI survivor benefits on the deceased spouse’s work credits or other eligibility for Social Security benefits.
A surviving spouse may not receive survivor benefits if they are below retirement age and still working.
Ask a Disability Lawyer About SSDI or SSI Benefits
Social Security Administration rules and regulations are not easy to understand. It can help to have someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience representing clients like you. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.