When an individual is the surviving spouse of a person who was receiving Social Security Disability benefits, the individual may qualify to receive survivor benefits. However, there is a time limit in regards to how long such an individual has in order to apply for the survivor benefits that he or she may qualify for.
When a surviving spouse applies for Social Security Disability benefits, they must do so within seven years of the date that the beneficiary spouse passed away. If the application is not submitted within this seven year period, the surviving spouse will not qualify for benefits. This period is the period that is referred to as the prescribed period – or the period in which the surviving spouse is allowed to apply for survivor benefits.
It is important to note that just because an individual submits an application for survivor’s benefits within the prescribed period that does not mean the applicant will automatically qualify for survivor’s benefits. In order to qualify for benefits, the applicant must also be 60 years old (or be turning 60 years old within the seven year period of the spouse’s death). The exception to this rule is if the surviving spouse is also disabled. In that case, the age requirement is reduced to 50 years.
The exact date that the seven year prescribed period begins is the date of the disability beneficiary’s death. If a surviving spouse hopes to qualify for benefits in the form of survivor’s benefits, then they must be sure to submit their application within this seven year prescribed period.