Survivor Benefits

Massachusetts Lawyers Helping Applicants for Social Security

If you are dealing with a medical condition that has left you disabled and unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through the Social Security Administration may provide you with the monetary support that you need to handle difficult financial times. These benefits are generally available as long as an individual remains disabled, and they can extend for years or even decades after they are initially approved. What is less often understood is that, in some circumstances, SSDI benefits can extend beyond an individual’s lifetime and can be passed on to a spouse or children as survivor benefits after death. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security attorneys can explain survivor benefits to applicants in Massachusetts and help you evaluate whether this may be an option available to you.

Survivor Benefits for Family Members

The Social Security Administration’s policy on survivor benefits varies depending on the relationship of the survivor to the deceased disabled individual. Most often, it is spouses who seek the SSDI benefits of a deceased husband or wife, since they may have relied on these benefits for financial support prior to the spouse passing away. In order to receive widow or widower benefits, a spouse must have been married to the disabled individual for at least nine months before the individual passed away. If the spouse is not disabled, survivor benefits are available only if the spouse is over 60 years old. If the spouse is also disabled, he or she is entitled to survivor benefits if he or she is at least 50 years old and his or her disability began between the ages of 50 and 60. It should be noted that getting remarried will generally eliminate one’s eligibility for survivor benefits.

Two other categories of family members who may also receive survivor benefits are children and those who take care of a deceased disability recipient’s children, such as a grandparent or a step-parent. Children are generally entitled to receive survivor benefits until they are 18 or 19 years old. However, if they become disabled themselves before turning 22, they are entitled to benefits at any age. Guardians of children are entitled to benefits as long as the children they are taking care of are under 16 or disabled, and they have not themselves remarried after the deceased disabled individual passed away.

How Are Survivor Benefits Calculated?

Survivor benefits depend on a variety of factors, including the relationship to the deceased individual and age. For instance, a widow or widower is entitled to full benefits once he or she reaches retirement age. If he or she is seeking survivor benefits before retirement age, the widow or widower may receive anywhere from 71.5% to 99% of the full survivor benefits. Children are generally entitled to full survivor benefits. However, a family as a whole may receive no more than 150-180% of the deceased individual’s benefits, so if there are multiple individuals entitled to survivor benefits, the amount of benefits received may be reduced to accommodate other claimants.

Explore Your Options with a Government Benefits Attorney in Massachusetts

When a loved one passes away, the trauma and loss that a family experiences can be overwhelming and all-consuming. At the same time, when the family depends on that individual for income and support, a sudden loss of financial resources can compound the stress that everyone is experiencing. If you have a loved one who was receiving disability benefits and has passed away, it is important to realize that you may be entitled to survivor benefits to help you navigate through this challenging time and support your family in the years to come. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our government benefits lawyers are knowledgeable in SSDI claims brought by Massachusetts residents and can assist you with asserting your rights. From our Boston offices, we advise people in Norfolk, Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, and Plymouth Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. Contact us at 1-800-367-0871 or online to set up an appointment.