Ever since its introduction to the Social Security’s main priority programs, the Social Security Spouse benefits insurance has been very helpful in alleviating the suffering of an individual due to the loss of his or her partner. This is notwithstanding his or her membership in any other insurance policies.
Qualifications, Privileges and Policies
Based on the laws that cover Social Security, a deceased worker’s spouse may:
- Start to collect monthly checks from the SSA at the age of 62 and above, (However, collecting spouse benefits too early will permanently reduce the amount. The percentage of the reduction will be based on the number of months the beneficiary has been receiving benefits prior to his or her full age of retirement).
- be eligible to collect Medicare benefits after reaching the age of 65,
- get half of the member’s full retirement benefits if he or she begin accepting financial assistance at his or her full age of retirement, and
- Receive half of the benefit amount at any age if he or she is taking care of a child who is also collecting benefits. (The beneficiary will continue to receive benefits until the child reaches the age of 16.
If in case, the deceased worker’s spouse is receiving his or her own retirement benefits, the SSA will prioritize paying such. Yet, if the Social Security Spouse benefit amount is larger, the spouse will obtain benefits combination, which is equivalent to such amount.
Nonetheless, if a qualified widow or widower is continuing to perform his or her work and receive benefits at the same time, similar earning limits will apply as to a living beneficiary.
Requirements and Procedures
Generally, Social Security Spouse benefits applications can be made through:
- Online Application (Browse on the SSA’s Official Website at http://www.ssa.gov/ and follow their instructions)
- Contacting their offices by phone or mail (Their toll-free Service Hotline is at 1-800-772-1213)
- Visiting their offices personally (Setting an appointment with them is advised to avoid long waits although it is not required)
In applying for Spouse Benefits, the applicants will be required to various documents that will prove their eligibility. Thus, it will be wiser for them to ready the following documents before visiting an SSA office:
- Original copy of birth certificate
- Naturalization documents
- Military discharge documents
- W-2 forms for the previous year
Equally important to bear in mind, delaying the filing of application because of incomplete documents should not be a problem. If this is the case, the SSA will help the applicants gather the other required papers.
Furthermore, being ready to answer some questions in the interview will speed up the process.
Appointing a Qualified Representative
Like in any legal case, Social Security Spouse benefits applicants may hire the assistance of their representatives. This is primarily to give them an avenue where they may avoid the intricacy of filing an application. Also, appointing someone who has the proper skills and understanding in handling Social Security cases may prevent technicalities that are the main causes of denial.
In addition, an able Social Security Law attorney has the capacity to guide the applicants on how to answer questions that will be raised by the adjuster. A qualified representative may also help in the procurement of the necessary documents.