Are you disabled and divorced? Did your former spouse pass away? If so, you may qualify for Social Security Disabled Surviving Spouse benefits, which is a federally-funded program that is handled by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Under this program, disability benefits are paid to a disabled surviving spouse of a deceased individual who worked long enough to earn sufficient Social Security credits.
To qualify under this particular program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You must have divorced the deceased worker.
- You must be between the ages of 50 and 59.
- Your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years before the divorce was finalized in court.
- You must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.
- You must be single – you cannot be remarried.
- You cannot be entitled to a Social Security retirement benefit on your own earning record that is equal or higher than your deceased former spouse’s benefit.
Now that you know a little more about benefits for surviving disabled divorced spouses, the next question is, do you meet the SSA’s definition of a disability? According to the SSA, “Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death.”
Can You Engage in Easier Work?
The SSA is very strict about its definition of a disability. If you can still engage in “lighter” or “modified” work, the SSA will not consider you to be disabled. For example, suppose you hurt your back while delivering heavy packages. The SSA will want to know, “Can you do something easier, such as clerical work?” If you’re capable of handling a desk job, the SSA would not consider your condition to be severe enough to warrant disability benefits.
On the other hand, if your medical condition is so severe that you cannot engage in lighter, modified work, then the SSA may approve you for disability benefits.
If you’re considering applying for disability benefits, we invite you to contact our firm to meet with a Dallas SSD attorney. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions and navigate you through the claims process. Let our knowledge and expertise help you.