Austin Disability Benefits for Widows & Widowers

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Disability Lawyer in Austin

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to people who are unable to work due to disabilities. In some cases, widows and widowers may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on a deceased spouse’s earning record and work history. This may make it possible for you to obtain a larger benefit or qualify when you might otherwise be ineligible.

An experienced lawyer at The Bob Richardson Law Firm can help you to get the widow or widower disability benefits you deserve. We can help you apply for benefits or appeal an initial denial if you believe your valid claim was wrongly rejected.

With offices in Austin and Waco*, our law firm represents SSD claimants throughout the surrounding areas of Texas.

Contact us today for a free consultation and claim review. Our lawyers can discuss your legal rights and provide answers to questions such as:

  • When would it make sense to get SSD benefits based on my deceased spouse’s work record?
  • As a widow or widower, what do I need to do to qualify for Social Security disability benefits?
  • How can a lawyer help me with a widow or widower disability benefits claim?

Disability Benefits Based on a Deceased Spouse’s Work Record

Two Social Security programs make disability benefits available to people who are disabled and unable to earn a living:

  • For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a means test is applied, and only people with limited resources may qualify for disability benefits.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD), on the other hand, is not a means-based program. You may qualify for benefits even if you have money and property. SSDI may provide larger monthly benefits to most disabled people than SSI.

Many disabled individuals want to qualify for SSDI to receive larger benefits checks and to avoid the stringent limitations on maximum resources. To do so, you typically need to have earned a minimum number of work credits. The specific amount of work credits varies based on age at the time of disability.

If you have not earned a sufficient number of work credits but your deceased spouse has, you may qualify SSD benefits based on the work record of your deceased spouse.

Since SSDI benefits are based on the wages you earned over the course of your career, it may also make sense to use your deceased spouse’s work record if he or she earned more than you. By obtaining widow or widower benefits, your monthly disability income could be higher since your spouse paid more into the Social Security system.

Qualifications for Widow or Widower Disability Benefits

To qualify for widow or widower benefits and obtain SSDI benefits based on your deceased spouse’s work record, there are certain requirements. You must:

  • Be between 50 and 60 years of age.
  • Have a deceased spouse.
  • Meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled”.
  • Have a qualifying disability that started within seven years of the death of your spouse.

The definition of “disabled” is a narrow one for SSD purposes. Your condition must be terminal, or must have either lasted a year or be expected to last that long.

It also must be listed in the Blue Book (the SSA’s Listing of Impairments) or be medically equivalent to listed conditions. You will need medical proof showing that you have specific symptoms the SSA requires for the listed medical problem.

A Lawyer Can Help You Get Widow or Widower’s SSD Benefits

Can I have a lawyer represent me in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income? At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, our experienced disability lawyers help widows and widowers obtain full disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Founded in 1990 by then-Texas State Representative Bob Richardson, now retired, our law firm has helped thousands of applicants for Social Security Disability obtain the maximum benefits they deserve.

Find out how we can help you, too. Call us now or fill out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim and advice about your legal right to disability benefits.