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## Situation Overview

I am a 64-year-old individual who will be turning 65 this November. I have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for an extended period of time. Sadly, my wife passed away last year, just two days before her 58th birthday in 2023. Upon her death, I visited the social security office where they provided assistance with a funeral benefit of around $200. However, they also informed me that I would not be eligible to receive any benefits from her social security for a certain duration, though the specific timeframe escapes my memory. It appeared to be only a few years away from the present moment. Currently, I am receiving approximately $1200 per month from my own SSDI benefits. Due to my health conditions, including reliance on oxygen 24/7 and other ailments, I am unable to work.

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35 Comments

  • agulde28

    They might have told you to delay it until you reach full retirement age, this way you can receive 100% of the benefit. Your spouse’s benefit would have to be more than $1200 for you to receive anything. If the benefits were close to the similar amount, that might be another reason why they told you to delay. SSA can only pay the difference between your’s and her’s, for example if her benefit would’ve been $2000 and you receive $1200, SSA would give you $800 as a survivor benefit so you can “match” what she would’ve received. It depends on the numbers.

  • Wildweed

    Call your SSA office for the most accurate information.

  • Djscratchcard

    If the benefit you would be due off her record is less that what you’re currently getting, that may be why they told you to wait. Claiming survivors benefits prior to FRA will get you a reduced amount. If you were born in 1959 your widowers FRA would be 66 and 6 months.

  • OkExternal7904

    I’m still working and paying into my SS account, until I’m 70. My husband died in 2021 and I started collecting Survivors Benefits (his SS) when I turned 66.5 years old.

    I didn’t even know about Survivors Benefits until my financial planner asked me if I filed to get his benefits. It took 2 months to get an appointment and another 6 weeks for the payments to start. They did pay the back payments I missed in a lump sum.

    Sorry for the rough road your life has been. Hope things improve.

  • Hearst-86

    You don’t get to “double dip”. You can receive the benefit that pays more. If your SSDI benefit pays more than a survivor benefit would at this time, then you may have been told that there was no financial benefit for you to collect on her earnings record under SSA at this time.

    For example, you currently receive $1200 a month. If you were to collect on her earnings record right now, you would only get $1100 a month. Since you cannot stack these benefits, you obviously would choose $1200 a month over $1100 a month.

    What SSA was suggesting is that you redo this comparison when you reach your full retirement age (FRA) under SSA. If, at that time, her benefit is higher than yours, you can make the switch at that time. It well could be higher at that point because there would no longer be that any age reduction factor for taking them before your FRA.

  • CommunicationTime63

    These are my suggestions:
    If you wish, you can file an application for survivor’s benefits, and receive a formal determination that will fully explain that the disability insurance benefit you receive on your own record is unreduced, and is higher than the reduced benefit you would receive as a widower. Your claim would not be denied, but you would have appeal rights, and you would be protected if there’s a change in the law or circumstances. No person can tell you can’t file an application. You can file to settle any questions you may have.

  • Jaded-Moose983

    Full retirement age for those born in 1960 or later is 67. As I understand the process, a draw at reduced benefits may begin when you spouse would turn 62, but the amount is reduced. I think the spouse at the worker’s full retirement can claim 50% and it’s reduced to the low 30-something at 62.

    If you are dealing with your own health issues, it may well be to your benefit to take the draw earlier rather than holding out for a higher disbursement.

  • hickory222

    Thank everybody for their great Input. It was all very helpful.

  • jfrum9990

    I think its age 60

  • snglwhtfml

    Here’s a realistic outlook, as someone whose been on SSDI for 14yrs myself. You can technically collect as a surviving spouse now (age 60 is the threshold for surviving spouse), only IF, as others have mentioned, your late spouses amount is larger then your current. If she had all her credits in and made a decent wage then it should definitely be above your current amount. The benefit of waiting is dependent on her “should be” age. If she had let’s say 5 years before hitting full benefits, your survivor amount is higher if you wait the 5 years. Here’s the reality check portion of my comment though. It may not be worthwhile to wait for that higher amount if your life expectancy is compromised due to your disability. If you expect another 15+ years then yeah, it’s likely worth waiting. If your looking at a few years past that threshold age, it may not be worth waiting for a couple hundred extra.
    You should immediately qualify for alot of state assistance though. You should automatically qualify for full Medicaid, along with your Medicare. Medicaid should also pay your Medicare deduction, providing full SSDI with zero deductions. You should qualify for full SNAP benefits, possibly some cash assistance, depending on your state. Also, Medicaid can pay for someone to do home care like cleaning, an aid or pay a family member or friend a couple hundred a month to assist you. Your local SHINE representative or elder aid can help you get all this too. As an SSDI recipient, there are a lot more expenses you can claim to qualify for the state aid that able bodied cannot get. It’s about the only “perk” being disabled gets you… lol

  • DominaSaltopus

    You need to contact SSA again and ask about receiving disabled widower benefits. I can’t advise more because there are very specific dates and time period and eligibility criteria that they’ll look at. It’s called the prescribed period.

  • uffdagal

    You can get Survivor’s Benefits at age 50 if disabled but it will be permanently significantly reduced. You’d only get 71.5% of her benefit. And you are only eligible for Survivor’s if HER benefit is higher than what you are currently getting.

    SSDI will automatically convert to SS Retirement at your FRA (67) at the same benefit amount. At that time you can check to see if Survivor’s is higher.

    As someone previously mentioned it’s likely reduced Survivor’s is less than your current SSDI. If she was working did you contact her employer about Life Insurance? Did she have a separate Term Life policy outside of work?

    https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf

  • ZealousidealEar6037

    Sorry for your loss 🙏

  • Fun_Entertainer_6990

    Just wanted to offer my condolences

  • shep2105

    Is your wife’s SS higher than yours?

    If not, there’s really no reason to do anything

  • GeneralAppendage

    If you can not afford housing and you are ill start applying to state run assisted livings. Get on the radar. You are at risk of decomposition without significant resources and alone. Community housing with medical assistance will help

  • SchilenceDooBaddy69

    Big hugs, I wish things were easier and you had more time together.

  • oracle_gemm

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Illustrious_Grape_81

    https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/ifyou.html

    This could help a lot of you. Good luck!

  • FordMan100

    A former friend husband died. He was 61, and in order for her to collect his benefits, they told her it would take a year. I don’t know if it’s because he wasn’t 62 yet or because the process takes a year.

  • Adorable_Dust3799

    I was told at one point that i could collect half of my late spouses at the earliest age and switch to mine at 72, but i don’t know if that still allowed.

  • questionablejudgemen

    My mom left a few years on the table, but I’m
    curious if OP is entitled to some spousal benefits. It might not be the full amount, but it might be a partial.

  • Traditional_Set_4757

    Your SSDI is calculated at full retirement age. I had it and when I reached 65 & 6 months it turned into regular SSI at the same rate. Only difference is now that can tax you. I guess with social security nobody is disabled for the rest of their life.

  • WindProper3442

    I was on SSDI 59 y/o when my husband passed from COVID in 2021. My check is roughly $1300 a month. My husband was collecting around $3500 a month Social Security and working. After more than a year I started receiving half of his Social Security around $1400 p/m plus SSDI of $1300, it’s strange 2 different checks. I needed to apply for my widows benefits and also had to go through the whole process of verifying my disability. Hope this helps. Not an easy process be patient.

  • retha64

    I’ve been on SSDI theoretically since 2012, when I would have turned 48. That was the year they back payed through when it finally got approved after 3 years of fighting. Yes, I was young, but had already had 3 lumbar surgeries, the last being a two level fusion. and one cervical fusion. I lost my husband in 2012 and stupidly remarried too quickly, before I even grieved appropriately. The stupid things we do when grieving…smh. After I realized the gravity of my mistake and righted the wrong, social security called me to tell me I was eligible to receive widows benefits. His SS would have been about 1/3 more than mine is and I get about 1/4 of what his would have been. I had read that I am actually eligible to get most, if not all of his, but haven’t been. What I read recently is that there is a total SS income cap that a widow can receive. Mine plus what I get of his equals that cap. While it’s a decent amount, it’s still not enough to live on my own. Congress has discussed changing it, but hasn’t figured out how to do it to where it helps those of us who need it to be able to live on our own without it benefiting those who don’t need it. The cap was passed I believe in the 60’s.

  • leftdrawer1989

    ❤️🫶🏻

  • OkPlace4

    My SS office offers appointments and those are always handled on time and you don’t have to show up and sit all day. The biggest thing I see about why SS takes so long is that people don’t have all of the needed paperwork ready. Yes, some may seem ridiculous but if you have all the documents it needs, the process usually runs easily. So, if SS says it needs a certified copy of your birth certificate, it will not accept an uncertified copy. Plain and simple. And above all, don’t get snippy with them. That will serve no purpose and will not do you any good. It’s like the DMV – smiles will get your further than scowls.

  • tracyinge

    How many years had your wife worked in her lifetime ?

  • LLCNYC

    Your. history/bio. = how you on oxygen doing all that

  • yankinwaoz

    It sounds like you are referring to the $255 One-Time Lump-Sum Survivor death benefit. As the surviving spouse, you are entitled to that benefit. It has nothing to do with funerals, or burials.

    The other topic was claiming a survivor benefit from her SS record. As a widower, you can claim a survivor benefit from her record while waiting to claim your retirement benefit. When you turn 70, then you claim your retirement benefit.

    At that time, your benefit will be either increased because your own benefit is more. Or the same amount because her benefit is more. Her benefit is the same as what you would be getting as a survivor benefit.

    Simple as that.

  • al0vely

    Ask social security and write it down … take the guess work out of it.

  • Zealousideal_Pea3578

    I haven’t got any advice I just wanted to say I’m sorry for your loss ❤️‍🩹

  • Crafty-Notice5344

    I believe the age us 67.

  • IamNulliSecundus

    Ask Biden for HELP!

  • Cobblestone-boner

    I hope Trump gets elected so you lose your benefits, society doesn’t need to pay for LOOSERS