If a beneficiary dies, can I get their benefits?
If you are the spouse or child of a Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits recipient and they have passed away, there are some options available to you for financial support.
Death Before Approval
If your spouse or parent had been the primary earner of income, and had recently become disabled before passing away, you may be able to open a claim for Social Security disability benefits or continue a claim that he or she had started.
For example, say you were married to your spouse for twenty years and they were the primary earner of income and had recently become disabled and had applied for disability benefits before suddenly passing away. If you meet certain requirements, such as:
- You are over 62 years old, or
- You are taking care of the beneficiary’s children, who are under 16 years old
You will be eligible for a survivor’s benefit that is based on the beneficiary’s work history.
This may include back pay originating from the time in which the worker became disabled. Of course, payment of this sum depends on if the Social Security Administration approves the original claim and the worker had been disabled for over five months.
Death After Approval
In the event of the death of a SSD benefit beneficiary after the approval of their benefits, his or her spouse or dependent children may be entitled to a one-time Social Security death benefit in a lump sum. This type of benefit is usually only a small sum of $255.
This payment may be in addition to any monthly survivor’s benefits to which the dependent family members are entitled. Eligible family members for these types of benefits include spouses, dependent children, and even some ex-spouses.
After the death of a recipient of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which are based on the disabled worker’s employment history and how much they had contributed in payroll taxes, certain family members may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits.
The money will go to certain beneficiaries in a certain order. First, the surviving spouse, who had been living in the same household as the deceased person and had met certain requirements that made them eligible to receive benefits of the same earning record of the deceased during the month of their death, is eligible to receive their SSDI survivor benefits.
If there is no surviving spouse, then the children of the deceased person will receive the survivor’s benefits in equal portions if they met certain requirements that made them eligible to receive benefits of the same earning record of the deceased during the month of their death – usually due to their young age and status as a dependent.
If the worker had no children either, then the survivor’s benefits may be dispersed in the following order:
- To the parents, who were eligible for the worker’s SSD benefits during the month of the death through meeting certain requirements. If none,
- A surviving spouse who had not been living with the worker or had met the requirements for SSD benefits during the month of the death. If none,
- Adult children. If none,
- Parents who had not met the requirements for SSD benefits during the month of the death. If none,
- The legal representative of the worker’s estate.