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Things to Know About Widow Benefits Laws in Alabama

Widow Benefts Law Alabama

Losing a spouse is one of the most universally painful experiences that humans ever have to go through. When you rely on your spouse financially, this time is even more traumatic. In addition to grieving your spouse, you struggle to figure out how you’ll meet your financial obligations. If your spouse was receiving Social Security benefits at the time of their passing, you may be entitled to their benefits after their death.

The world of Social Security benefits can be confusing, and working with the team at The Dansby Law Firm may provide clarity. Call us at 334-326-6449 to set up a consultation now.

Social Security Survivor Benefits in Alabama

The Social Security Administration provides survivor benefits for an individual’s spouse, child, or parent who passes away. To earn survivor benefits, an individual must earn enough credits. The amount of credits they need for a loved one to receive survivor benefits depends on their age. The younger they are, the fewer credits they need. This is a fairly complex area of Social Security benefits and the amount of credits needed varies from person to person, so it’s important to talk to a Montgomery, AL disability attorney about your options.


Figuring Out and Calculating Benefits

To start, you must first ensure that you qualify for widow benefits. The widow benefits law states that the following may qualify for survivor benefits:


  • Surviving spouse aged 60 or older; may be 50 or older if they have a disability
  • Surviving divorced spouse, but only under certain circumstances
  • Surviving spouse with no age limits who is caretaker of the decedent’s child; the child must be age 16 or younger, or have a disability and receive child’s benefits


Other individuals who qualify beyond the deceased’s spouse may include their unmarried child, stepchild, grandchild, or parent.

What about remarriage? If you remarry after the age of 60, or after the age of 50 if you have a disability, your eligibility for widow benefits is not affected. If you remarry prior to that time, you will likely no longer qualify for widow benefits.

Calculating benefits is relatively straightforward. To start, the base amount is dependent entirely on the benefits that your spouse collected on a monthly basis or the amount they would have collected. The more they paid in, the more your benefits will be.

A surviving spouse who has reached full retirement age receives 100% of the deceased’s benefit amount. Full retirement age depends on the year in which the deceased was born; it currently ranges from 65 to 67 years old.

A surviving spouse who is at least 60 but not yet at full retirement age receives between 71.5% to 99% of the deceased worker’s benefit amount. A disabled spouse who is at least 50 receives 71.5%. If a surviving spouse is caring for a child below the age of 16, they should receive 75% of the deceased individual’s benefits.

Additionally, there is a one-time death payment made to the surviving spouse in certain conditions. Currently, the one-time payment is set at $255.


Applying for Widow Benefits

You will have to apply for widow benefits through the Social Security Administration. It’s best to apply as soon as possible after your loved one’s death since the SSA often pays out from the date of application and not the date of death. Plan on providing proof of death, both parties’ SSNs, proof of marriage, dependent children’s SSNs if you are caring for a child below 16, and the deceased individual’s most recent tax return.

If you are already receiving benefits, either based on your spouse’s work or your own work, you should report your spouse’s death to the SSA right away. If your benefits are based on their work, your benefits will convert to survivor benefits. If your benefits are based on your own work, you may receive more with widow benefits.


Get Help with Your Disability Benefits Case—Contact The Dansby Law Firm

Navigating widow benefits laws is challenging, especially when you’re also working through your own grief. Let our team of Montgomery disability attorneys help. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-326-6449 or fill out our online contact form to get started.

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