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SocSec Survivor / Disability questions
Old 06-17-2016, 06:54 PM   #1
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SocSec Survivor / Disability questions

I am 48, wife is 54. Wife has been diagnosed with a terminal illness with very short life expectancy. An absolute nightmare that has forced me to consider issues I never thought we would have to deal with. It's crummy but there are some practical issues that need to be planned for.

Wife was immediately put on Soc Sec disability (not SSDI). If my wife dies prior to her normal retirement age, what should I expect in the way of Soc Sec benefits when I reach retirement age? My wife's normal Social Security retirement amount was nearly double mine. Would I be entitled to a portion of her SS or just mine? I can find advice on the 'net for general SS widow(er) issues but not with the disability issue involved.

I'm grateful for any insight or direction anyone can provide.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:16 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear.

If she filed for disability, your widowers benefit at age 60 would be 71.5% of her disability benefit. And your widowers benefit at FRA would be 100% of her disability benefit. Anything between 60-FRA would be between 71.5% and 100% of her disability benefit. But the computation used to calculate a widowers benefit based on a disabled deceased numberholder could be indexed differently than a traditional widowers benefit based on a non disabled deceased numberholder. The short answer is it depends on too many variables to be precise, but anywhere from 71.5%-100% of her benefit depending on your age. Best of luck and prayers.


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Old 06-17-2016, 09:17 PM   #3
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Nate2953,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Am I correct in my understanding that I would then NOT receive my social security in addition?
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:32 PM   #4
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You would choose either of the two. Retirement or widowers benefits. You could take widowers at 60 and retirement at 70 (with delayed retirement credits) or retirement at 62 then widowers benefits at FRA. Widowers have choices and aren't deemed to file for their own benefits. Best bet is to contact your local SSA office when you turn 59 to get more concrete numbers so you can plan.


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Old 06-17-2016, 09:58 PM   #5
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Thank you.
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Old 06-18-2016, 12:16 AM   #6
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So sorry. My DW is the same age as yours and is going through breast cancer treatment for the second time. My only advice is non-financial, which is to seek support and help for yourself. I was amazed at how zero was offered to me, the spouse and caregiver, even while such excellent focus is given to the patient, where most of the energy is naturally and correctly directed. Not one single professional offered counseling assistance to me, and this was at a top flight breast cancer center. Nevertheless, as someone walking through hell, you really need a support group or fellow traveler or expert to lean on. For example, even though I do all I can to help and I attend virtually all doctors' appointments and surgeries, I was feeling growing guilt about a recurring, involuntary fantasy of forming a new life on a Caribbean island should DW not make it, which I obviously did not share with DW or anyone we knew lest I seemed to be selfish. A counselor I sought out myself told me that my reaction was alright. My fantasy was just a coping mechanism and my natural fight or flight response protecting me. That helped me make sense of my internal process and neutralize guilt, which let me focus on my wife better, whom we think will be OK. Anyway, my point is that I hope you can get some support for yourself if you don't have it, because I found that it's rather critical to do and not something a guy should try to tough out, as is often our default mode, and I wish you peace and comfort in this extremely hard time.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:15 AM   #7
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Markova,

Thank you for taking the time to post that message. My wife is currently getting treatment at a very highly regarded cancer center where there is a Doctor who specializes in her particular type of rare cancer. Although I am thoroughly impressed by her doctor I have been very surprised at the failings in other areas. Like you, at no point has anyone made mention of any counseling or support options. Unless I am aggressive and acting as our own advocate and researching most of this (which is completely foreign to me) I find that many things fall through the cracks and will not get addressed. Maybe my expectations were unreasonable but I am surprised at how little would get done were I not constantly pushing to move forward.

Although we are a long way from home I am fortunate in that I have many good friends I can call regularly for support.

I was somewhat reluctant to even post the original question. I am embarrassed to admit that I am even worrying about some of these issues (Financial issues as a result of possibly losing my wife). My wife has always been very health-conscious while I have been exactly the opposite so the assumption always was that she would outlive me and we had pretty much planned financially for that. This has now completely blown our financial planning to pieces. It makes me feel like I am being incredibly selfish to worry about what might happen to me if my wife dies but having an answer to some of these questions at least gives me one less thing to worry about right now.

Regardless, thank you for your very kind and considerate message.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:43 AM   #8
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So sorry to hear of both of your wives fighting for their life . I hope you both get all the support you need .
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