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Disability Law Offices of Tony Adderley

Survivors’ Benefits

  • By: Tony Adderley
  • Published: January 19, 2015
The Problem With August

In October, a Texas widow filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) because she was denied spousal benefits after the death of her same-sex spouse. The SSA said that it is bound by law to determine a benefit applicant’s marital status based on where the applicant lives, not where the marriage took place. Same-sex marriage is the law in most states and the District of Columbia, but it is still not allowed or recognized in several states including Texas. Kathy Murphy and her spouse married in Massachusetts. The SSA will not honor that marriage since the couple resided in Texas. In the southern California region, if you need to receive survivors’ benefits after the death of a spouse, speak – as soon as you can – with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney.

The SSA provides Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to disabled workers. It also pays SSDI survivors’ benefits to certain family members if the deceased worker paid Social Security taxes and earned enough credits. When the marriage is recognized by their state of residence, the following applies to widows and widowers:

  • A widow or widower may receive full benefits at retirement age or reduced benefits at age 60.
  • A widow or widower who becomes disabled can use a deceased spouse’s work history at age 50 if he or she meets all other disability requirements for obtaining benefits, but the disability must have started before the spouse’s death or within seven years after the death.
  • If the deceased spouse had a child now under age 16, or a child who is disabled, the widow or widower may receive benefits at any age if he or she is caring for the surviving child.

Applying for survivors’ disability benefits can get very complicated. Every detail of information must be accurate and precise. Medical and employment records and other documents must be produced. Even before you apply, speak first to an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney who can guide you through the process and help you obtain the benefits you need, qualify for, and deserve.

About the Author Tony Adderley has been working as a professional advocate for
individuals entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) and worker’s
compensation benefits for more than 20 years.