Many people are aware that the Social Security disability benefits are available to individuals who become disabled and cannot work. However, the SSA also has special benefits programs for disabled widows and widowers that allows them to obtain benefits based on the deceased spouse’s earnings record. Nonetheless, obtaining disabled widows and widowers benefits is a complicated process, which makes working with an experienced social security disability attorney essential.
Disability Attorneys of Arizona, conveniently located in Tempe, Phoenix, and Tucson, provides advice and guidance to disabled individuals and their families. If you are a widow or widower, we can help you file a disability claim under your deceased spouse’s work history. Although obtaining disabled widows and widowers benefits can be challenging, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to help you navigate the bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration.
We understand that losing a spouse is a painful ordeal, especially when you are coping with your own disability. Our legal team will offer you compassion and support as we help you obtain much-needed widows and widowers benefits.
Who is eligible for disabled widows and widowers benefits?
To obtain disabled widow or widower disability benefits, you must:
- Be between the ages of 50 and 60
- Meet the SSA’s criteria to be considered disabled
- Your disability must have begun within 7 of your spouse’s death
- You must also be able to demonstrate that you meet one of the SSA’s following definitions of a spouse:
- Legal Spouse — you were legally married under the laws of the state in which you lived at the time of your spouse’s death
- Putative Spouse — you believed in good faith that you were legally married at the time of your spouse’s death and subsequently discovered the marriage was invalid
- Deemed Spouse — you went through a marriage ceremony in good faith but a legal error prevented the marriage from being considered valid
In addition, your marriage must have lasted at least 9 months, unless you meet certain exceptions (e.g. having a child together). You may also be eligible for disabled widows or widowers benefits if you were divorced but your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
What is the definition of a disability?
To qualify for widows or widower benefits, you must be the SSA’s definition of a disability:
- You have a medical impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 1 year or result in death.
- The impairment prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity, meaning that your monthly income does not exceed $1,220, or 2040 if you are blind.
It is worth noting that the SSA maintains a listing of qualifying medical conditions for disability benefits which is referred to as “The Blue Book.” Generally, if your disability is included on that list you may be eligible for widows and widowers benefits; however, you may also qualify if your physical or mental impairment is medically equivalent to a listed medical condition.
In any event, proving that you have a severe, long-term impairment can be difficult since you must provide ample evidence from your doctor and also undergo a consultative exam by a physician selected by the SSA. Moreover, it is crucial that the medical records verify that your disability began within the 7-year time frame. This is where Disability Attorneys of Arizona can help. Our legal team will work closely with you and your team of doctors to compile the necessary medical evidence for your disability benefits claim under the widows and widowers program.
How to File a Claim for Disabled Widows and Widowers Benefits
To obtain disabled widows and widowers benefits, you must file an application with the local field office of the Social Security Administration in your state which must include information about your medical condition along with medical evidence. Nonetheless, the majority of initial disability benefits claims are denied, including those made by disabled widowers and widows who need financial support after the death of a spouse. By working with our experienced disability lawyers, you increase the likelihood of your claim being approved. If, on the other hand, your disabled widows and widowers benefits claim is denied, we will guide your through the complicated appeals process.
Why Choose Disability Attorneys of Arizona?
Knowing that obtaining widows and widowers disability benefits can be complicated, our dedicated team will work closely with you throughout the entire process, explain all of your rights, and keep you informed about the progress of your case. We are always available to respond to your questions and concerns and always return calls promptly. If your condition makes it difficult to travel, we will come to your home or meet you at a location that is convenient for you. Moreover, we never accept upfront fees, and only get paid if your claim is successful. If you are seeking widows and widower benefits, don’t go it alone. Contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case.