Most people see Social Security as a program they pay into while working so that once retired, they will receive the benefits back in the form of a monthly check. However, what happens when a disabled worker dies, leaving behind a surviving spouse and/or children? Injuries can come in all forms, and losing your loved one can be just as debilitating as a serious physical disability. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which is overseen by the Social Security Administration, provides income to survivors of deceased workers.
When picking up the pieces after losing a loved one, the questions begin.
- What happens to a disabled worker’s benefits once he becomes deceased if survived by a spouse and/or dependent children?
- Can the surviving spouse apply for survivor benefits?
The short answer is if the disabled worker was receiving SSD insurance benefits, it is likely his earnings counted toward not only his retirement benefits but survivor benefits for his spouse and minor children as well. The amount of those survivor benefits varies depending on two major factors: the amount of benefit the deceased worker was entitled to and the age of the surviving spouse.
It is important to note that you should apply for survivor benefits as quickly as possible because, in most cases, the benefits are paid from the time you apply, not retroactively to the date of death of the disabled worker.