Could Your Family Use More Social Security Benefits?

When your spouse is sick or has lost their battle with a disabling condition, the grief and strain on your life can feel overwhelming.

It’s emotionally taxing, the uncertainty around your finances only brings more anxiety, and if you have children, concern for their well-being becomes all-consuming.

Financial help and relief from stress is out there. You may be eligible to collect your own Social Security benefits for a late spouse or a spouse who is receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

How much you receive depends on a complicated formula that takes many factors into account, including your age, both your and your spouse’s work histories, any disability you may have, and whether you’re now supporting a child your spouse has cared for.

The Washington disability attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill have seen it all in over 40 years of helping people get disability benefits. We know how to navigate Social Security and help put your mind at ease.

If you’re wondering whether you qualify for survivor or disability benefits, we can evaluate your case for free.

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How Much Does Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Pay?

Your husband or wife can’t work because of illness or a debilitating condition and has successfully secured Social Security Disability benefits.

While this provides needed relief for your family, you might still struggle to make ends meet.

Spousal benefits can be an added lifeline for your budget and your dignity.

To be eligible, you must fall into one of two categories:

  • You are 62 or older: You can receive disability benefits based on your spouse’s earnings record. Keep in mind, if you’re under your full retirement age, your retirement benefits will be reduced. You also may not be eligible if you could receive higher benefits based on your own work history.
  • You’re caring for your spouse’s child: If that child is under 16 or had a disability before 22, it doesn’t matter how old you are—you can still collect spousal benefits without facing a retirement penalty. If you’re caring for a child with disabilities older than 22, you will have to show that their impairment before that age for you to collect spousal benefits.

If you qualify, you can collect an amount up to 50 percent of your spouse’ monthly disability payment.

That amount will be reduced if you have a child who is already collecting benefits based on your spouse’s work record. Social Security takes into account all the benefits your family receives, and your own work history, when determining what you’re eligible for.

If you and your spouse are divorced, you may still be eligible for benefits based on your spouse’s work record. In this case, Social Security requires you to have been married for at least 10 years, be 62 or older, be unmarried, and not be eligible for equal or higher benefits based on your own work record.

In every case, the math is complex and your situation is unique. The attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill understand this and provide the kind of individual care and attention that you deserve.

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How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits?

Losing a partner can make even the smallest daily decisions seem daunting. Losing their Social Security benefits can leave you lost about where to turn to next. And maybe you have a disability yourself that adds another layer of stress to an already emotional situation.

Social Security offers monthly benefits to widows or widowers whose deceased spouses contributed to Social Security when they worked.

How much you can receive, however, depends on a variety of factors. These include how old you are, whether you’re caring for a child your spouse had cared for, and any disability you may have.

  • If you have reached full retirement age, you’re eligible for 100% of your deceased spouse’s benefits.
  • If you are at least 60 (50, if you have a disability), you’re eligible at minimum for 71.5% of your spouse’s benefits.
  • If you’re caring for a child under 16, you are eligible for 75% regardless of your age.

If you were divorced, you must have been married for at least 10 years to be eligible. And you can’t collect benefits if you’re under 50 and not caring for your spouse’s child under 16.

It’s a lot to wade through all the rules Social Security throws your way.

At Bothwell & Hamill, we can do the heavy lifting to help you get the survivors’ benefits you deserve, so you can focus on rebuilding your life.

Get in touch if you’re in Yakima, Kennewick, Sunnyside, Spokane, Richland, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Walla Walla or anywhere in Central Washington.

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More Questions?

You probably have a lot of questions. Bothwell & Hamill has answers.

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Yakima woman thankful that Tom Bothwell helped her win Social Security Disability benefits.

I tried to find some work for several months before coming to grips with the fact I just couldn't find work I could do. It has been very stressful. Tom (Bothwell) has been very caring and understanding.”


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