Survivor Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are receiving New Jersey Social Security disability benefits, chances are that you may be in poor health and worried about the worst-case scenario: you are unable to get better. In cases like this, your thoughts often turn to those who rely on your for support: your spouse, children and grandchildren, and perhaps your elderly parents. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about what will happen to them if you are no longer there to receive disability benefits; the SSA has a program that extends benefits to the families of anyone who had been on disability and is now deceased. Survivor benefits, as they are called, may be granted in the following cases:

1. Spouse

If you and your spouse are legally married and you are currently insured and receiving SSDI benefits, your spouse is entitled to receive several types of benefits from the SSA. If your spouse cares for a child under age 16 who receives survivor benefits, then he or she can receive 75% of your SSDI benefits. If your husband or wife is at least 50 years old and disabled, he or she can receive 71.5% of your disability benefits. And depending on how close they are to retirement age, your spouse can receive up to 100% of your disability benefits (which occurs if they have reached full retirement age).

2. Children

Unmarried children who are under age 18 are eligible to receive 75% of their deceased parent’s SSDI benefits until they turn 18, at which point the payments stop. This benefit can be extended to adult children if they are under age 19 and still in secondary school, or if they are disabled before age 22. These benefits apply to natural children, adopted children, and stepchildren.

3. Grandchildren

Your SSDI benefits can be extended to surviving grandchildren if you currently take care of them because their parents are deceased or disabled, and if you provide at least half of their support. If your grandchildren qualify, they can receive 75% of your SSDI benefit.

4. Parents

If your parents are fully insured on Social Security, at least 62 years old, and if you provide at least half of their support, they can receive 75% of your SSDI benefits as survivors (or 82.5% if only one parent is still alive). These benefits are reliant upon the condition that your parents are not entitled to their own SSDI benefits that are higher than what they would receive as survivors.

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