Collecting Social Security in Special Cases
The Social Security benefit is primarily paid to retirees and their families. As of June 2019, it was estimated by the Social Security Administration that about 48 million people fell into this category.
Another estimated 16 million beneficiaries are comprised of disabled workers, families in which a spouse or parent dies and in some cases, divorced spouses. Collecting Social Security benefits in these types of special cases is more complicated. It’s recommended to consult with your financial advisor or other Social Security expert before attempting to collect Social Security Benefits in the case of disability, divorce, or death of a loved one.
If you’re receiving benefits because your spouse died, you are eligible to switch to your own retirement benefits at age 62, provided your benefit is greater than the amount you receive from your deceased spouse’s benefit. An expert can help you identify when and if you should collect your own benefit versus collecting on your spouse’s benefit.
If you are prevented from working due to a physical or mental condition that is expected to last more than one year you may be eligible for disability benefits. It can take months to go through the application and review process and a good amount of documentation is required to help build your case. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/ to learn more.
If you’re divorced, your former spouse may be able to collect benefits on your earnings. Among the qualifications, a divorced spouse must be at least 62, have been married to you for at least ten years, and be unmarried. There are other requirements as well so it’s critical to consult with an expert if this applies to you. Visit www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourdivspouse.html
Survivor benefits may be paid to your family members including your spouse who is 60 or older, children younger than 18 (or older than 18 if disabled prior to age 22). Even your parents might be eligible if they were dependent on you for at least half of their support. Understanding your survivor benefit can help ease the burden on your family upon your death.
There’s a one-time payment of $255 after death for those who have earned enough credits through their working life. Your spouse or minor children who meet certain requirements would receive this payment.
If you’re interested in Social Security and your retirement considerations, register for our Understanding your Social Security Benefit Coffee & Kringle event on March 14.
As seen in The Racine Journal Times