When a recipient of
Social Security Disability benefits reaches his or her full retirement age (FRA), disability benefits
are converted to retirement packages. While this may make little difference
to the amount received by the primary benefactor, it can greatly affect
the total value of spousal and survivor benefits. Last year’s update
to Social Security law may force those receiving disability benefits to
reconsider their plans for the future. A recent
USA Today article takes a look at a similar situation where a person must consider postponing
social security benefit payments in order to maximize their spouse’s
potential survivor’s benefits.
Maximizing Spousal Benefits VS. Survivor Benefits
Generally, when an individual is eligible for Social Security Disability
benefits, their partner may be eligible for spousal benefits upon reaching
the age of 62. However, if a tragedy occurs resulting in the primary recipient’s
death, spousal payments will be converted to survivor benefits. In order
to maximize survivor benefits, recipients who reach their FRA must then
postpone retirement payments until the age of 70.
Unfortunately, there is a tradeoff. Deferring the start of retirement benefits
will also halt spousal benefits until the time that payments are resumed.
This can leave many families with an uncomfortable choice. To maximize
potential survivor’s benefits, families must forgo collecting both
primary and spousal social security payments for an extended period of time.
While spousal benefits are limited to half of the primary insurance amount
(PIA), payments can still be substantial. Spouses must consider whether
or not their household can be maintained without the support of Social
Security Benefits. Additionally, penalties exist when a spouse claims
benefits early and again, a spouse’s age must be taken into consideration.
Legal Help for SSD Benefit Recipients
If you are in this position, your choice is far from simple and should
not be made without careful consideration and analysis. Do not navigate
the legal process alone and risk collecting less in benefits than you
and your spouse may be eligible to receive. At Disability Action Advocates,
our Sacramento Social Security disability attorneys can bring more than
two decades of experience to your case. Together, we can review your situation
and tailor a legal strategy to your family’s goals.
Call toll free (888) 421-8705 or
request a free consultation online to learn about your options.