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.