For individuals with specific types of disabilities, illnesses, or medical conditions, Social Security Disability Benefits are available. These benefits may also be available to help compensate certain family members of the disabled individuals. It is important to contact a specialized disability lawyer in order to determine whether family members will also be covered under the disability benefits. This financial assistance can help keep a family going even if the primary breadwinner is no longer able to work.
In some situations, the spouse of someone who is disabled will also qualify for disability benefits. In order to qualify, the non-disabled spouse must be 62 years old or older or caring for a child who is under the age of 16 or a child who is disabled. Divorced spouses may also qualify if they are over the age of 62, were married to the disabled individual for over 10 years, and are currently not married to anyone else. If benefits are being paid to a spouse, it will not lessen the benefits paid to the disabled individual.
If a current spouse or divorced spouse is within three months of turning 62 years old, he or she may begin the application process for Social Security Disability Benefits online. Those who do not fall within this age group may apply any time over the phone with the Social Security Administration Office. Some documentation will be required in order to prove eligibility, so gathering these items ahead of time can help to speed up the process. Required documentation includes the applicant’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree (if applicable), proof of citizenship, and a recent W-2 tax form.
The applicant will also be asked questions in order to prove his or her eligibility. Applicants should be prepared to answer questions that cover their personal and professional lives, information on military service, information on other benefits they receive, details on their marriage, and information on their current spouse as well as any information on dependent or disabled children. Applicants can also specify when they would like their benefits to begin and, if age 65 or older, can also enroll in Medicare Part B.
In an effort to prevent lost or stolen checks sent through the mail, the Social Security Administration requires those receiving benefits to set up a direct deposit account into their checking or savings or apply for a Direct Express debit card account. The Direct Express debit account does not require opening a bank account and makes the benefit funds available immediately in the account on payment day. This card can be used to purchase items, pay bills, and withdraw cash, usually without any type of ATM fee.
When it is unclear whether or not a spouse qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits, a specialized disability benefits lawyer can be of great help. The attorney will be able to analyze the client’s unique situation and work with the Social Security Administration to get the client and his or her spouse the benefits they deserve. The attorney can also assist clients and spouses with filling out the disability application as well as gathering and presenting the needed documentation concerning disability benefit appeals.