Claiming Social Security Spousal Benefits

October 04,2019
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Filing for Social Security Benefits of a Deceased Spouse

Filing for Social Security in New Rochelle is the same process as anywhere else in the United States, but having a local attorney representing your case is always a good idea for obtaining the best results. Claiming survivor benefits associated with an untimely death is not necessarily complicated if you are filing based on many years of marriage and qualification by age, regardless of your disability status. However, some cases are not that simple and often it will take an experienced legal representative to win approval, even when filing for Social Security in New Rochelle.

Understanding Delays in Approval

The Social Security Administration is known for taking advantage of the time periods involved in filing a claim before making a final benefits ruling, largely because the benefit will often be effective for the remainder of your life. Some approvals are made based on specific rules SSA uses to qualify an individual for benefits. Certain rules allow automatic approvals, such as cases involving disabled spouses and underage children. But, individuals who are under the age of 50 and filing for spousal benefits will always have difficulty winning a claim unless the Social Security Administration has already ruled the applicant disabled. It is important to understand that a disability ruling is a legal ruling, just as in any other federal court, and the agency prefers you to have an attorney to ensure that you understand the dynamic of the legal ruling. An approval is more than just a monthly stipend.

Qualification for Children’s Benefits

Minor dependent children are a protected class in the United States, and when the primary breadwinner in the family passes away, the dependent children are automatically eligible for a monthly payment issued to the duly-appointed guardian or surviving parent. Children need not be disabled if they are under 22 and still in school, or under age 19 if not. This is commonly referred to in the administration as “mother’s” or “father’s” benefits, but the true primary recipient is normally any minor children who are legally dependent on the deceased parent, regardless of the child’s disability status.

Benefits for Disabled Dependent Children

Benefits can continue indefinitely if the minor child is disabled before the age of 22, especially if the medical prognosis indicates permanent disability. A disabled child could possibly be eligible even if the parent has not earned enough credits over the previous 20 years before death because of a special Social Security Administration rule that applies to dependent children. In addition, some children are classified as disabled, but are borderline on qualification. These particular recipients could possibly experience a stoppage in benefits in this case, so having an attorney who is familiar with the child’s medical history means the situation can be addressed quickly in many cases.

Benefits for a Surviving Spouse

Understanding benefits for a surviving spouse is different from understanding children’s benefits. The rules are still based on age and disability status, but the former spouse of a qualified decedent may also draw benefits in certain situations. This benefit can be enhanced if the former wife has custody and control of their minor children. This is a benefit that many individuals do not understand is available, especially when minor children are not involved, and the approval is not necessarily controlled completely by age. A disability ruling can qualify a surviving spouse based on the length of the marriage. This can also be the difference in receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits or standard Social Security Disability Insurance payments, as they are separate programs and the rules are very different. Many times a wife has been a stay-at-home mother or only worked sporadically. When case approvals get complicated, an effective Social Security attorney understands how to craft the case to the SSA in an acceptable manner for approval.

Qualification Rules for Surviving Spouses

The age rules for spousal benefit qualification are well established for common claims. All surviving spouses are eligible at age 60, but will be required to take a reduced benefit for filing early. Those who wait until they are age 66 to claim benefits will be paid at the 100% rate of the deceased spouse. Spouses who are disabled, but between the ages of 50 and 60 are also automatically qualified once the disability ruling is issued. The Social Security Administration often delays approval of these cases, especially when the claimant is applying for disability on potentially insufficient medical evidence. These applicants are routinely sent to multiple doctors by the SSA in order to development a competing opinion about the claimant’s actual health condition. It is absolutely necessary to have an experienced disability attorney when fighting claim denials, and always make sure that all medical appointments are kept throughout the process, with a particular emphasis on the importance of seeing the assigned physicians that are ordered second opinions by the SSA.

Calculating Benefit Payments

Once an applicant has been approved, the next step will be determination of the benefit amount. There are several factors that can impact this final question. Typical retirees who wait until they fully qualify by age will receive full benefits, but that does not apply for those who retire earlier. Qualified recipients between the ages of 60 and full retirement age will receive a minimum of 71% of the deceased spouse’s payment amount, but can be adjusted upwards to 99% in some disability situations. Qualified spousal benefit recipients with minor children will receive 75% of the deceased worker’s pay rate, and the children’s benefit is not affected. The rules change when the minor children are already receiving SSDI at the time of the worker’s death, usually resulting in a reduced benefit for the surviving spouse. This benefit is also applied differently for divorced spouses with dependent minor children of the deceased worker, with the primary difference being how income is counted toward the maximum family benefit allowance.

Contact an Attorney for Social Security in New Rochelle NY

Disability applicants in New York state should always remember to call (914) 286-3030 for the disability legal professionals at Hermann Law Group, PLLC. The firm is experienced in handling cases for Social Security in New Rochelle.

Social Security Hackensack NJ Attorneys Discuss Marriage and Benefits

Social Security Hackensack NJ AttorneysOur knowledgeable Social Security Hackensack NJ attorneys can answer your questions about how getting married affects disability benefits.

Benefits Under Your Own Work Record

Depending on the type of Social Security Disability or SSDI benefits you are receiving, marriage may or may not affect the amount you receive. If you have worked and are receiving benefits under your own work record, getting married will not affect your benefits. If you are a spouse or adult child receiving benefits under a parent’s work record, your benefits may stop unless you are marrying another disabled person. Once an adult disabled child gets married, he is no longer eligible to receive benefits as a dependent on a parent’s work record. However, if the person you marry is also disabled and receiving benefits under a parent’s work record, under certain circumstances neither person will lose their benefits. Speaking with a disability attorney is the best way to get the answers you need. If you are receiving benefits under an ex-spouse’s work record you will also lose your benefits. If your ex-spouse is deceased, as long as you don’t get married before 60 years old or 50 if you are disabled, you shouldn’t lose your benefits. Of course you may be eligible to receive benefits from your new spouse; speaking with Social Security Hackensack NJ attorneys is the best way to get the answers you need to all of your questions.

Benefits Under Supplemental Security Income

Strict income limits apply to SSI and getting married will usually affect the overall amount of the benefit. If your future spouse makes a good income, the “deemed” assets could disqualify you from SSI benefits. “Deemed” assets can vary and it is best to determine how these assets will affect your benefit before you make a final decision about marriage. Social Security Hackensack NJ attorneys can explain what this means to your specific situation. Two people who are receiving SSI shouldn’t lose their benefits, but the amount will probably be reduced. In 2015 an individual’s SSI amount is $733, but the married amount is only $1,100. People who are receiving SSI should look at all of their options when deciding if they should get married or not. Knowledgeable disability attorneys can explain these differences and help you make sense of government benefits.

Speak with Our Social Security Hackensack NJ Lawyers

For more information about disability, getting married, and Social Security, contact a Social Security Hackensack NJ attorney from Hermann Law Group, PLLC at (914) 286-3030.

Our New Jersey Disability Lawyer Explains How Child Support Affects Disability Benefits

How Child Support Affects Disability Benefits - New Jersey Disability LawyerOur New Jersey disability lawyer from Hermann Law Group, PLLC understands that child support responsibilities do not stop when an individual is approved for disability benefits, regardless of the type of disability benefit the responsible parent is receiving. If you’d like an experienced New Jersey disability lawyer, you need one who fights aggressively to ensure that all your legal rights are observed by the SSA when disability claims are finally approved. One of the most important of these rights is child support payment requirements.

Your Disability Program Matters Concerning Your Child Support Payments

There are differences in disability benefit programs that determine whether a wage garnishment can be applied to the child support payee’s income. Responsible parents who receive Supplemental Security Income are not vulnerable to wage garnishments because their income level is below the garnishment authorization income minimum. Individuals who are court-ordered to pay child support and are approved to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can still have their disability payments garnished, but the final determination of the amount is based on the benefit allowance for the responsible parent. Recipients of railroad retirement, veterans disability, and private corporate retirement plans are also legally vulnerable to wage garnishments. Generally, disabled recipients of SSI are the only individuals immune from child support payment income interception after the disability ruling.

Can I Receive an Adjustment to My Child Support Amount If I Am Disabled?

The short answer to this question about payment reduction is yes, but the court order is a qualified reduction. The final amount of child support is based on a percentage of the disabled parent’s income. So, if the disabled parent’s income goes up with disability, there is a distinct possibility that the child support payment will go up also. There is no guarantee the child support payment amount will be reduced. In addition, dependent children are also normally qualified for family benefits, which can fluctuate child support levels in some cases. An experienced and effective New Jersey disability lawyer like the professionals at Hermann Law Group can help calculate the potential child support obligations after the Social Security Administration determines a recipient benefit amount.

Can Back Pay Benefits Be Intercepted?

The answer to this question is also a qualified yes, as Supplemental Security Income can normally be protected. Always keep in mind that the Social Security Administration can streamline benefits for individuals who have been attempting to win a disability claim with borderline physical or mental impairment. Even though all cases involve a disability, the severity of the medical problems can range, and all disability cases are unique in some aspects. The SSA can agree to a case settlement on specific conditions if the disabled recipient agrees to a certain condition.

Arrears Reductions

All arrears the disability recipient has built during a disability case decision will still apply, normally based on the retroactive date of the disability ruling. From the date the recipient was determined to be disabled, the amount can be adjusted according to that time frame. However, all arrears accrued before disability determination will still apply and payment will be required.

Contact a New Jersey Disability Lawyer

Be sure to contact Hermann Law Group, PLLC at (914) 286-3030 if you are filing a disability claim that includes a reassessment of your child support responsibilities in association with an impending disability ruling.