Can You Get SSD Benefits from a Deceased Spouse or Parent?

by Staff | May 3rd, 2021

The death of a loved one is among life’s most stressful and difficult experiences. But in addition to overwhelming grief, their loss can also result in an immediate, pressing need that affects everyone in your family: money.

Losing the income of someone who fully or partially supports you and your surviving loved ones financially can be devastating. Your life may be built around their income, and without it, you may be unable to pay for your mortgage, afford your daily living expenses, or save for retirement.

Every year, millions of Americans pass away. And many of those people were receiving Social Security Disability Benefits as their sole source of income when they died. That money was used to pay for their and their families’ living expenses, but what happens to it when they pass away—and can any of their dependents continue to receive it?

Surviving Spouses, Children, and Even Parents Are Eligible for SSD Benefits

Many family members qualify for survivor’s benefits when their loved ones who received Social Security retirement benefits pass away. The same is true if their deceased loved ones were receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Spouses who are eligible to receive survivor’s benefits from a deceased SSD recipient include:

  • Caregivers of the deceased’s child—If you care for a child under the age of 16 years old whose deceased parent received SSD benefits you can receive up to 75% of the deceased’s benefits.
  • Disabled spouses ages 50 and up—If you’re at least 50 years old and were disabled either before your spouse died or became disabled within seven years of their death, you can receive up to 71.5% of their SSD benefits.
  • Spouses approaching but not at retirement age—If you’re at least 60 years old but haven’t reached full retirement age, you can receive between 71.5% and 99% of your deceased spouse’s SSD benefits.
  • Spouses who have reached full retirement age—If you’ve reached full retirement age, you can receive 100% of your deceased spouse’s SSD benefits.

Factors that affect SSD benefit eligibility for surviving spouses include remarriage before the age of 60, having access to a retirement benefit that’s higher in value than the SSD benefits, having a job and earning wages, and being married to the deceased SSD recipient for less than nine months (with exceptions).

Natural, adopted, and stepchildren who are eligible to receive survivor’s benefits from a deceased SSD recipient include:

  • Unmarried children who are younger than 18 years old
  • Full-time high school students younger than 19 years old
  • Children who became disabled before the age of 22

Children who are eligible for a deceased parent’s SSD benefits can receive up to 75% of their benefits.

Grandchildren who can receive survivor’s benefits from a deceased SSD recipient include:

  • Grandchildren whose parents are deceased, disabled, or who don’t financially support them
  • Grandchildren who began living with their parents before the age of 18 and whose deceased grandparents provided half of the financial support for at least one year before their deaths
  • Infant grandchildren who lived with their deceased grandparents for most of their lives and received at least half of their financial support from them

Parents who can receive survivor’s benefits from a deceased SSD recipient include:

  • Parents whose deceased children provided at least half of their financial support at the time of their deaths
  • Parents who are at least 62 years old
  • Parents who have not married since their children’s deaths

Sole surviving parents of deceased SSD recipients can get 82.5% of SSD benefits, while two surviving parents can each receive 75% of their benefits.

Can Multiple Family Members Receive SSD Benefits from a Deceased Loved One?

Yes, but there’s a limit to how much money they can receive. In total, survivors cannot receive more than 150% to 180% of a deceased SSD recipient’s benefits.

Questions? Get an Experienced SSD Law Firm on Your Side.

The Social Security Disability process is complex and often confusing. It’s easy for valid claims to slip through the cracks or be denied because of minor oversights. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, it’s our job to make sure valid claims get the attention and approval they deserve from the Social Security Administration.

That includes helping surviving family members get their benefits after their loved ones pass away. If you need assistance with an SSD claim, get in touch with our Indiana Social Security lawyers. We want to help your family get the money you need to move forward with your lives.

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