Survivor Benefits

SSDI Attorneys in Chicago

The death of your spouse or parent may be devastating, both emotionally and financially. If your spouse was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits prior to death, you may be concerned about whether you would qualify to continue to receive those benefits after their passing. It is possible for a survivor of an SSDI beneficiary to apply for survivor’s benefits at his or her local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. The death must be reported by providing the decedent’s Social Security number to the funeral home or by calling the SSA office. A dedicated Chicago Social Security lawyer can help you navigate the process for claiming this type of benefits, as well as appealing any resulting agency decisions.

Seeking Survivor Benefits

In order to be entitled to your decedent spouse’s benefits as a disabled surviving spouse, you need to possess a medically proven mental or physical condition that stops you from getting a job and is anticipated to last a minimum of 12 months or until death.

It’s important to provide notice of the decedent’s death to the SSA as soon as you can. If the funeral director has the decedent’s Social Security number, they will usually report the death to the SSA. However, you can also visit or call the local SSA office and provide the funeral home death certificate or notice, your Social Security Number and your spouse’s, the decedent spouse’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate, and your most recent tax forms. Certain family members of the decedent may be able to get SSA benefits if the decedent worked long enough in a Social Security-insured job to qualify.

Survivor Benefits

The SSA can pay $255 to you, as a surviving spouse, one time if you were living with the decedent at the time of death. When living separately, but still eligible for benefits on the decedent’s record, you may also be able to get this one-time payment. When there’s no surviving spouse, a child that is eligible to get the benefits on the decedent’s record in the month of death is able to obtain this payment. A skilled SSDI lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify for this amount.

Particular family members of the decedent may be able to get monthly benefits. A widow or widower who is a minimum of 60-years-old may be able to get monthly benefits, as might a widow or widower of any age who cares for a decedent’s child who is under age 16 or disabled. Similarly, an unmarried child of the decedent who’s younger than age 18 or a maximum of age 19 if they’re a full time student in secondary or elementary school may be eligible for benefits, as might an unmarried child of a decedent that is at least 18-years-old and has a disability that started before age 22. Stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or adopted children under certain circumstances may be eligible for survivors’ benefits. In some situations, even a surviving divorced spouse may be eligible.

The amount of the benefit survivors can receive on a monthly basis varies. Workers can earn a maximum of four credits each year, and the number of credits needed for survivor benefits depends on the worker’s age when they die. Even if the worker doesn’t have the required number of credits, a worker’s surviving spouse who is caring for their children can obtain benefits.

The amount of the widow or widower benefit can change as a surviving spouse nears the ages of 62-70. The SSDI benefits may change as they would if they were paid to a surviving spouse. Reviewing the matter with an SSA representative may be necessary to figure out the benefit level.

When the decedent is still receiving Social Security benefits, survivors need to return the benefit to the decedent that was received for the month of death or later months. This is the case even if the benefit was obtained through direct deposit and even where the survivor is an eligible family member who can get death benefits for the same month. It’s important for survivors to let the financial institution know of the death and ask for the return of the benefit amount.

Retain a Seasoned SSDI Lawyer in Chicago

If you’re concerned about obtaining survivor benefits, you can consult a seasoned SSDI attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent workers in Rockford, Champaign, Aurora and Quincy, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, Adams, and Kane Counties. We examine the circumstances of our clients’ claims to determine all possible avenues for relief. Call us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.