Obtaining Survivors Benefits After the Death of a Disabled Loved One

January 7, 2020
Dayes Law Firm

When a Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits recipient passes away, his or her surviving dependents may be eligible to receive survivors benefits. However, certain requirements must be met to qualify.

The disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm further explain how to obtain survivors benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you believe you may be eligible for these benefits or have already been denied, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team for help.

Requirements for Survivors Benefits

To apply for survivors benefits, you must visit your local Social Security office or call the SSA – it is not possible to apply for these benefits online.

Individuals who may be eligible to receive survivors benefits if a deceased loved one received disability include the following:

  • Spouses age 60 and above
  • Disabled spouses age 50 and above
  • Divorced spouses (under certain circumstances)
  • Spouses of any age who care for a child of the deceased’s under age 16
  • Spouses of any age who care for a disabled child of the deceased’s
  • Unmarried children of the deceased’s who are age 19 and under and a full-time elementary or secondary school student
  • Unmarried children of the deceased’s who are age 18 and above, who have a disability that began prior to reaching age 22

In certain circumstances, others who may also qualify for survivors benefits include:

  • A stepchild
  • A grandchild
  • A step grandchild
  • An adopted child
  • Parents age 62 and above who depended on the deceased for a minimum of half their support

Lump-Sum Death Benefit

When a disability benefits recipient passes away, certain surviving family members are given a one-time death benefit payment by the SSA. The lump-sum death benefit is $255 and is paid to:

  • The deceased’s spouse who was living with the deceased when he or she passed;
  • Or, a spouse or child of the deceased who is eligible for a Social Security benefit in the month of death based on the deceased’s record

How Much Are Survivors Benefits?

The amount paid in survivors benefits depends on the deceased person’s employment history and amount paid into Social Security via payroll taxes. The SSA determines the amount of full benefit given to each surviving family member using the following factors:

  • Amount of the deceased’s benefits
  • Age of survivor
  • Relationship of survivor to the deceased

Generally, survivors could expect the following in survivors benefits:

  • 100 percent of the deceased’s benefit amount is given to a spouse who has reached full retirement age
  • 70 to 99 percent is given to the deceased’s spouse who is over age 60 but not yet at full retirement age
  • 75 percent is given to the deceased’s spouse with a child under age 16
  • 75 percent is given to a child of the deceased’s

All survivors benefits are subject to a maximum, which limits how much the SSA pays on a single claim.

Survivors Benefits If Beneficiary Dies Before Approval

In situations where a disability applicant passes away while his or her claim awaits approval by the SSA, immediate family members are permitted to pursue a claim for survivors benefits. A spouse age 62 or older, or who takes care of the deceased’s children under the age of 16 may qualify for these benefits once the deceased’s disability claim is approved.

In addition to survivors benefits, once the claim is approved, back pay may also be awarded, which the deceased person would have received had he or she lived.

Call Us For More About Social Security

If you need help obtaining survivors benefits or other benefits related to a disability claim, the Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys from our firm are prepared to assist. We have helped many claimants over the years apply for disability or appeal a denied application.

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options. There are no upfront fees for our services. Payment is only due if we successfully help you obtain benefits.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete our Free Case Review form.