Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

Possible restrictions from receiving survivor benefits

Losing your spouse can be devastating in many ways. The death of a spouse can be financially challenging, especially if the deceased was the primary breadwinner in your family. Losing a source of income can make things more difficult for someone who is already dealing with the death of a spouse.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a system where the surviving spouse and dependents may be eligible for benefits based on the deceased’s Social Security tax payments during their lifetime.

Below are some restrictions that may disqualify surviving family members from receiving monthly benefits:

Age restrictions

One of the most critical markers in the SSA systems is the full retirement age, ranging from 66 to 67, depending on the person’s birth year. If the surviving spouse has not reached that age yet, they can work and receive benefits, but the payments may be less if the income exceeds certain limits. However, the SSA adds back the previously withheld benefits at retirement age.

When you reach full retirement age, you may work and receive full benefits regardless of your income.

Income restrictions

If you have yet to reach full retirement age, there will be deductions from your benefits for every increment over the limit you earn. “Income,” includes wages for those who are employed and net earnings for those who are self-employed. There are exceptions to the survivor benefit amounts, including government benefits, money from investments, annuities and other sources of income.

Other restrictions

If you are taking care of a dependent under the age of 16 or who has a disability, you may receive the total amount of survivor benefits at any age, regardless of your income. If you remarry before you turn 60, your remarriage will affect the benefits you receive. After the age of 60, remarriage will no longer affect eligibility.

The SSA compares survivor benefits to a life insurance policy that workers contribute to throughout their careers. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and what you may be eligible to receive following the death of your spouse.