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Social Security Disability Benefits for Widows and Widowers

If you are the disabled widow or widower of a qualified worker, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits based on the earnings record of your deceased spouse. For more than 15 years, the Social Security disability lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office have been helping disabled individuals obtain the benefits they deserve.

If you believe that you have a disability that may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits based on the fact that you are the surviving spouse of a qualified worker, contact the Kentucky Social Security disability attorneys at the Frank Jenkins Law Office for a free evaluation of your case. We can be reached by calling 1-800-WORKER (800-967-5377) or by filling out our online contact form.

We can help you, whether you are just starting the process of pursuing your claim or are appealing a denial of your claim. Your initial consultation is free, and we don’t receive a fee until we successfully obtain SSD benefits for you.

Based in Lexington, we serve clients throughout Eastern Kentucky, including Berea, Georgetown, Nicholasville, Paris, Richmond, Versailles and Winchester. 

About Widow and Widower SSD Benefits

If you suffer from a disability, then you already know how difficult it can be to handle simple daily tasks or to earn a living. Because of the limitations caused by your disability, you likely depended on your spouse for financial support if he or she was gainfully employed. With the death of your spouse, you are probably struggling financially and may be worried about the future. The good news is that the Social Security disability program is intended to help people just like you. However, the application process can be complicated and confusing.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program that is designed specifically for the disabled widows and widowers of workers who were the family’s primary breadwinner. If you are approved, you will receive monthly cash assistance as long as you remain qualified. For many disabled individuals, the Social Security disabled widows and widowers program provides a crucial lifeline at a time of exceptional need. 

Qualifying for SSD Widows and Widowers Benefits

Eligibility for Social Security disability widows and widowers benefits is dependent on a number of factors. Although each case is unique, there are some common considerations for anyone applying for widow and widower benefits.

  • Qualifying disability—Anyone who applies for disability benefits must meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.” Under the SSA guidelines, “disabled” means that you cannot do work that you did before, that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical conditions and that your disability has lasted for one year, is expected to last for one year or is expected to result in death.
  • Deceased spouse’s work history—Your spouse must have had a sufficient work history in order to qualify for benefits. Calculating the “work credits” needed to qualify can be complicated. For example, a worker over the age of 31 typically must have earned 20 credits in the 10 years prior to applying for benefits. In the case of a widow or widower, then the deceased spouse must have earned the required credits prior to death. A credit is earned each time a worker’s earning reach a certain dollar amount, which changes each year. A worker can earn up to four credits a year.

If you meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and your spouse earned enough work credits to be eligible for benefits, then you may qualify for widow or widower disability benefits under any of the following circumstances:

  • You may receive benefits as early as age 50 if you are disabled and the disability began within seven years of the worker’s death.
  • You may be eligible for benefits if you are caring for the worker’s minor children and are receiving Social Security benefits as a result and your disability begins before those payments end or within seven years after they end.
  • You may remarry after age 50 without its affecting your disability benefits.
  • You may be entitled to benefits if you were divorced from the worker if the marriage lasted for 10 years or more. 

Applying for Social Security benefits of any kind can be a long and frustrating process even when you are clearly entitled to the benefits. Statistics published by the SSA show that approximately 70 percent of all applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied. Of those claims that are denied, about 25 percent of them are denied on the basis of a technicality, meaning that something wasn’t completed correctly in the application. Another 20 percent are denied based on medical reasons, meaning that the applicant did not meet the SSA’s definition of disabled based on the information contained in the initial application. While many of these claims are later approved after appealing the denial, the claimant must wait months, even years, before he or she receives any financial assistance while the claim is being appealed.

Consulting with an experienced Lexington Social Security disability attorney can increase your chances of getting your claim approved without having to wait out the lengthy appeals process. The Social Security disability attorneys at the Frank Jenkins Law Office will assess your claim free of charge and let you know what we can do to help. In addition, our free book, Seven Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim – And How to Avoid Making Them, will help answer your questions about SSD benefits – including eligibility, the legal process for obtaining benefits, and approximately how long your claim will take. Contact us today to get your free copy of the book, with no strings attached. 

Contact Our Kentucky Disability Lawyers about Your Legal Rights

For over 15 years, the Kentucky Social Security Disability lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office have been successfully helping disabled individuals obtain SSDI benefits. Your next step should be to contact us for a free case evaluation.

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with a disability claim, or if you have questions about appealing a denied claim, contact a Kentucky Social Security Disability lawyer today at 859-389-9344 or use our online contact form.