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Mixing Social Security disability and survivor benefits

The Social Security system can be extremely confusing. Regardless, many people in Franklin, Ohio need to understand it because they have been injured on the job and deemed disabled. This system is a way for them to continue surviving in a world based on money. Without their Social Security Disability benefits, many individuals would be forced to rely on their family and loved ones for income. Some simply do not have the option to do so.

Take the story of one family: a wife, a husband and two kids. The wife is disabled and is receiving $1500 per month through disability benefits. Her children are receiving auxiliary benefits totaling around $720 per month, giving the family a total monthly benefit of approximately $2200. These benefits help pay for food, utilities, mortgage payments or rent.

The husband is concerned about what would happen if he died. Would his children be entitled to more money than they are currently receiving? A lot of factors play into this issue, such as the age of the children, the age of the wife and the disability status of each of them. It is tough to predict what exactly will happen if he dies, but it seems that the family maximum may increase and one set of benefits -- either disability or survivor's -- may be withdrawn at the maximum level while the other is only received at a percentage.

It is unclear how his wife acquired her disability. It is possible that she acquired it on the job. If the husband becomes injured or killed on the job, what happens then? The Social Security Administration has many ways to assist people in these situations when workers' compensation does not do the job, but those benefits can be hard to acquire. If you have been denied Social Security benefits, consider hiring an attorney. The appeals system can be just as frustrating as the initial application process, and an experienced legal professional can be invaluable in such a situation.

Source: PBS, "Social Security Benefits to Take While You Wait Until 70," Larry Kotlikoff, March 25, 2013

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