By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Losing a spouse is an emotional and challenging experience, and for some, it may also result in a significant financial burden. Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) widower benefits are designed to provide financial support to widowers or surviving spouses in Florida who have lost a loved one. Disability Advocates Group is here to guide you through the process of applying for SSDI widower benefits, helping you secure the financial assistance you deserve during this difficult time.

Understanding SSDI Widower Benefits

SSDI widower benefits, officially known as Surviving Divorced Spouse’s Benefits, are designed to provide financial support to widowers or surviving divorced spouses who meet specific criteria. To qualify for these benefits, several conditions must be met.

1. Eligibility Based on Marriage

To apply for SSDI widower benefits, you must have been married to the deceased individual for at least nine months before their passing. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if the death resulted from an accident or in the line of military duty.

2. Age Requirement

To receive SSDI widower benefits, you must be at least 60 years old or 50 years old if you are disabled. If you are caring for the deceased’s child who is under the age of 16 or disabled, there is no age requirement.

3. Deceased Spouse’s Work Record

To be eligible, your deceased spouse must have been insured under Social Security. This means they must have accumulated enough work credits during their employment history. Typically, a minimum of 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years, is required.

4. Not Remarried

Widowers or surviving divorced spouses who remarry before the age of 60 (or 50 if disabled) are generally not eligible for SSDI widower benefits. However, remarriage after this age does not impact eligibility.

5. Not Currently Receiving Higher Benefits

If you are eligible for higher retirement benefits based on your own work record, you may not receive SSDI widower benefits. Social Security will pay you the higher of the two benefits, but not both.

Applying for SSDI Widower Benefits in Florida

The process of applying for SSDI widower benefits in Florida involves several steps:

1. Gather Required Documentation

Before applying, gather the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • Proof of your relationship to the deceased (marriage certificate or divorce decree).
  • Proof of the deceased’s death (death certificate).
  • Your own birth certificate.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account information for direct deposit.

2. Determine Eligibility

Review your personal situation to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, considering factors such as your age, marital status, and whether you are currently receiving higher benefits.

3. Contact Disability Advocates Group

Seek legal representation from Disability Advocates Group to navigate the application process effectively. An experienced SSDI attorney can help you understand your rights, gather necessary documentation, and ensure your application is complete and accurate.

4. Complete the Application

You can apply for SSDI widower benefits online through the official Social Security website, by phone, or by visiting your local Social Security office.

5. Await a Decision

The Social Security Administration will review your application and documentation to determine your eligibility. The processing time varies, but you can check the status of your application online.

6. Receive Benefits

If your application is approved, you will start receiving SSDI widower benefits. These benefits can provide critical financial support during a difficult time.

Applying for SSDI widower benefits in Florida can be a crucial step in securing your financial well-being after the loss of a loved one. Disability Advocates Group is here to assist you in navigating this complex process. By meeting the eligibility criteria, gathering the necessary documentation, and seeking legal representation, you can maximize your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for personalized guidance and support during this challenging time.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.