Not everyone chooses to dedicate his or her life to a career. Perhaps you decided to stay home and raise your children, or perhaps your spouse simply made enough for you to not have to worry about entering the workforce.
Regardless of the reason, you may find yourself in need of financial help years later, after your spouse passes away.
What now? Can you still get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, even though you never paid Social Security taxes into the system? For some people, the answer is "Yes."
The Social Security Administration offers "survivor benefits" to qualifying widows and widowers. In fact, nearly 5 million surviving spouses are currently taking advantage of the medical and financial help that these benefits provide.
You can seek survivor benefits as early as age 50 if both of the following are true:
- You are unable to work for at least a year due to a qualifying physical or mental condition.
- Your disability began before or within seven years of your husband's or wife's death.
(Note: If you are over age 50 and qualify for these benefits, you don't have to worry about losing them if you remarry. The Social Security Administration will continue to pay.)
You can seek survivor benefits at any age if all of the following points are true:
- You are unmarried.
- You are currently taking care of your late spouse's child.
- The child has a disability or is under age 16.
You should also be aware that if you apply for survivor benefits and your claim is denied, you have the option of filing an appeal. Consider consulting an experienced California SSD lawyer to learn more about the next steps to take after a denied claim.