Can I Continue on My Husband's Disability Benefits After His Death?

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Question:

I am a non-working mom of two kids. My husband was on Social Security Disability up until he died a few weeks ago. What will happen with his Social Security? Do we keep getting his SSD benefits after death? Or if not, can my sons collect it? We need that money, so what do I have to do?

Answer:

When your husband passed away, his Social Security Disability benefits ended immediately. In fact, you cannot receive payments even during the month of his death. This means, for example, that if your husband passed away in late August, you must return the August check that you receive in September (or if your husband had direct deposit, Social Security might automatically debit your account).

However, although you are not entitled to continue collecting your husband’s disability benefits, you and your child may both be entitled to collect Social Security survivors benefits. Social Security provides survivors benefits based on the earnings record of a deceased spouse or parent.

A child who is unmarried and under 18 can collect a survivors benefit. Children older than 18 can continue to collect a survivors benefit if they are in school or disabled.

Widows who are near retirement age, or who are taking care of a child of the deceased under the age of 16 who is entitled to Social Security benefits, can also receive survivors benefits. A widow can collect either early retirement benefits at age 60 or full retirement benefits at full retirement age. Or, if the widow is disabled, she can collect benefits starting at age 50. 

Even elderly parents of a deceased worker who was disabled can collect survivors benefits if they were financially dependent on their child.

Also, you are entitled to a one-time lump-sum death benefit of $255.

For details, see the articles below.

updated by: , J.D.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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LA-NOLO1:DRU.1.6.5.20141029.29183