Benefits For Disabled Widows Or Widowers
If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets the definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, if they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
Disability Benefits At Retirement Age
Social Security disability benefits will automatically switch over to Social Security retirement benefits once the individual reaches their eligible age of retirement, generally around 62 to 70 depending on when they were born.
If they are eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, they will also receive this payment each monthhowever, they must apply to receive this benefit. In many cases, the monthly benefit amount received will not change, and may increase depending on how long the individual worked. Other considerations include if they currently receive a monthly pension, and how much was earned toward Social Security retirement benefits before they became disabled.
How Can I Apply For Social Security At Age 62
Your Social Security eligibility begins during the first full month in which you are age 62, which is the month after your birthday in most cases. You can apply for Social Security four months before that date. For instance, if you turn 62 in May, you can apply in February to begin receiving benefits from Social Security in June.
There is an important exception to this guideline. People with birthdays that fall on the first or second day of the month can begin receiving benefits during the month in which their birthday falls. For these individuals, an example would look like this:
You can apply for Social Security online or visit your local Social Security Administration office to apply for benefits.
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When Will Your Ssdi Benefits Convert To Retirement Benefits
You are eligible for retirement benefits once you turn 62, but that does not necessarily mean that your SSDI benefits will convert on your 62nd birthday. The SSA will automatically convert your SSDI benefits to retirement benefits once you reach what is known as full retirement age. Contrary to popular belief, the full retirement age is not 62.
Your full retirement age will vary depending on the year you were born. For example, if you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67. This means if you are currently receiving SSDI benefits and you were born in 1960 or later, your SSDI benefits will not convert to retirement benefits until your 67th birthday. Full retirement ages for other birth years are:
- 1937 or earlier: 65 years old
- 1938: 65 years 2 months old
- 1939: 65 years 4 months old
- 1940: 65 years 6 months old
- 1941: 65 years 8 months old
- 1942: 65 years 10 months old
- 1943-1954: 66 years old
- 1955: 66 years 2 months old
- 1956: 66 years 4 months old
- 1957: 66 years 6 months old
- 1958: 66 years 8 months old
- 1959: 66 years 10 months old
If you were born on January 1st, you should look to the previous year to determine your full retirement age. For example, if you were both on January 1, 1955, you should look at the full retirement age for people born in 1954. This means your full retirement age would be 66 years old rather than 66 years 2 months old.
How Do Ssdi And Social Security Retirement Work Together
SSDI pays out your full retirement benefits until you qualify to draw them under the traditional Social Security retirement scheme. Once you reach full retirement age based on the year you were born, the SSA will automatically start your retirement benefits and cease your SSDI payments.
The SSA allows you to file for retirement benefits as early as age 62. You can also wait and receive your full benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. Depending on what year you were born, this may vary from 65 to 67 years old.
How To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits depends on a few things. An individual must have worked for at least 10 years, and have a medical condition that is determined to be an actual disability under Social Security rules.
This can include a catastrophic injury or illness, a physical or mental impairment, or another medical condition that prevents one from holding meaningful employment.
A Social Security disability lawyer can help to define these factors to ensure that the individual can get this benefit, and it may take a few years to start receiving monthly disability checks.
Social Security Benefits For Workers Turning 60 In 2020 Will Very Likely Drop Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Congress could pass legislation that would prevent this outcome.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 3 million retired workers who turn 60 years old in 2020 will very likely have much lower lifetime Social Security benefits than previously expected. Without legislative changes, the average earner stands to lose nearly $1,500 per year for the rest of their life. Fortunately, there is a simple legislative changeexplored in detail belowthat would fix these problems without lowering the benefits of any other cohort of retirees. Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, Rep. John Larson , has introduced such legislation*and Congress should fix this situation as soon as possible.
How Can I Maximize My Social Security Retirement Benefits
The Social Security Administration will look over your last 40 years of work history and will base your benefits on the top 35 years of income. To maximize your benefits, you should strive to earn more money each year so that you can make larger contributions to the fund. Of course, there are other ways that you can help maximize your benefits such as delaying retirement as long as possible. Taking benefits at age 62 can cut your benefit amount by almost half.
However, delaying your retirement until age 70 can greatly increase your monthly income. It is very important that you take all of these things into consideration before you apply for your benefits because it will not change once your benefits have been established. Spouses and ex-spouses can also claim up to 50 percent of their spouses earnings if this will help them generate a higher income base.
For an ex-spouse to do this, they must have been married for a minimum of 10 years and they must have been divorced for no less than two years before applying for benefits. This will not impact the other spouse in any way.
Should I Retire Early Or Apply For Social Security Disability
If you are having health problems that have made working impossible and you are nearing the age of 62, you may think deciding to retire early may be the best option.
However, you need to look at the overall picture and determine whether early retirement or applying for Social Security disability would be the best option in your given situation. The Social Security Administration has very specific guideline regarding retirement benefits and disability benefits.
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How To Decide Whether Or Not To Retire Early
If a person decides to retire early at the age of 62, their disability payments may continue at the same time as their retirement benefits, but at a reduced rate. For example, if you were near retirement age and decided to retire early due to chronic health problems, you could apply for disability insurance.
Once you reach 65, your disability payment will kick in. The Social Security Administration will make up the difference between the disability and the retirement benefits for a short period of time while this transition occurs.
The decision to retire is entirely up to each person. It is recommended that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney and financial advisor before taking this step.
Spouses Who Dont Qualify For Their Own Social Security
Spouses who didnt work at a paid job or didnt earn enough credits to qualify for Social Security on their own are eligible to receive benefits starting at age 62 based on their spouses record. As with claiming benefits on your own record, your spousal benefit will be reduced if you take it before reaching your FRA. The highest spousal benefit that you can receive is half of the benefit that your spouse is entitled to at their FRA.
While spouses get a lower benefit if they claim before reaching their own FRA, they will not get a larger spousal benefit by waiting to claim after their FRAsay, at age 70. However, a nonworking or lower-earning spouse may get a larger spousal benefit if the working spouse has some late-career, high-earning years that boost their benefits.
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You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex
Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings. You can receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record if you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and you are single.
Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouse’s benefit — less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex-spouse’s record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your ex’s new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still start collecting Social Security based on the ex’s record, though you must have been divorced for at least two years.
Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.
A claiming strategy if youre divorced: Exes at full retirement age who were born on January 1, 1954, or earlier can apply to restrict their application to a spousal benefit while letting their own benefit grow.
How Should I Decide When To Take Benefits
Consider the following factors as you decide when to take Social Security.
Your cash needs: If you’re contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources , you can be flexible about when to take Social Security benefits.
If you’ll need your Social Security benefits to make ends meet, you may have fewer options. If possible, you may want to consider postponing retirement or work part-time until you reach your full retirement ageor even longer so that you can maximize your benefits.
Your life expectancy and break-even age: Taking Social Security early reduces your benefits, but you’ll also receive monthly checks for a longer period of time. On the other hand, taking Social Security later results in fewer checks during your lifetime, but the credit for waiting means each check will be larger.
At what age will you break even and begin to come out ahead if you delay Social Security? The break-even age depends on the amount of your benefits and the assumptions you use to account for taxes and the opportunity cost of waiting . The SSA has several handy calculators you can use to estimate your own benefits.
If you think you’ll beat the average life expectancy, then waiting for a larger monthly check might be a good deal. On the other hand, if you’re in poor health or have reason to believe you won’t beat the average life expectancy, you might decide to take what you can while you can.
A quick note about life expectancy
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Effects On The Budget
The option would reduce federal outlays for Social Security by $20 billion between 2020 and 2028, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. Based on data from the Social Security Administration, CBO estimates that, under current law, about 11 percent of new disability awards each year would be made to people who, after their 62nd birthday, applied for DI or experienced the onset of a qualifying disability. CBO estimates that in 2028 this option would affect about 730,000 people who would have received disability benefits under current law. Under the option, those people are projected to instead collect retirement benefits, which would be up to 30 percent lower than the disability benefits because they would be claiming benefits earlier than their full retirement age. CBO’s estimates of the budgetary savings from the option reflect the net result of an $85 billion reduction in DI outlays and a $65 billion increase in Social Security retirement benefits as people shifted from the DI program to the retirement program. The estimate accounts for factors such as the distribution of average benefits by age, which depends on projected earnings, as well as the delay between disability onset and benefit receipt.
Is Social Security Going Bankrupt
Social Security is struggling, but it is very doubtful that it will entirely disappear. It is important, however, for everyone to make additional financial plans for their retirement. In the future, it would not be unforeseen that Social Security benefits will be greatly reduced because of the current strain on the system.
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What Is The Future Of Social Security
If you’re skeptical about the future of Social Security or wary of potential changes such as means testingwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits for the wealthy, or an increase in the full retirement ageyou may be tempted to start benefits early, under the assumption that it’s better to have something than nothing. The 2021 annual report from the Social Security Trustees, released in August 2021, projects that the Social Security Trust Fund has enough resources to cover all promised benefits until 2034. Then, absent a change from Congress, the trustees project that benefits would need to be cut for all current and future beneficiaries to about 78% of scheduled benefits. The 2021 report includes the trustee’s best estimates of the impact from the pandemic, which were not reported on last year.
Over the longer term, changes such as later benefit dates or means testing may be considered.
In any situation, if you’re particularly concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, that’s a good reason to save more, and earlier, for your retirement.
How Do I Know If The Ssas Borderline Age Policy Applies To My Disability Claim
If you are within a few days to a few months of reaching a higher age category and using your current age results in a denial, then the SSA gives its administrative law judges discretion to use the higher age category.
Discretion is only allowed, however, if using your actual age results in a denial. If it results in a partially or fully favorable determination, then the ALJ may not use the higher age category. A partially favorable determination means the ALJ finds you disabled under the Social Security Act, but not as of the date you alleged you became disabled. A partially favorable decision often results in less disability back pay.
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How Do You Apply For Social Security Benefits
If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, you can apply online, by phone or by appointment at a local Social Security office.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
- Applying online is the easiest way to apply for Social Security benefits. The Social Security website allows you to apply for retirement, spouses, Medicare and disability benefits at the same site. You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
- If you dont have Internet access, you can sign up by phone. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 .
- The Social Security Administration has restrictions on office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It does allow in-person visits for certain services. You should check with the SSAs Coronavirus page to see if you can make an in-person appointment at your local office.
Do I Qualify For The Exception To This Rule Can I Draw Both Ssdi And Retirement
There is one exception that allows qualified individuals to draw both retirement and SSDI benefits at the same time, but this is rare and still does not allow them to collect more than their full retirement benefit.
This occurs when someone opts for early retirement between age 62 and their full retirement age but is then approved for SSDI benefits. Some people set themselves up for this by filing for early retirement after an injury or illness caused them to have to quit work. They can begin receiving early retirement to help them cover bills until their SSDI claim receives approval and the waiting period for those benefits expires.
Once this happens, they can begin receiving additional money from the SSA each month on top of their early retirement benefits. This will bring them to their full retirement benefit amount. They are also most likely qualified for retroactive benefits, which will bring them to their full retirement amount for any month they suffered a disability but were not yet approved for SSDI.
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