Are Disability Benefits Survivable to the Spouse at Time of Death?

Widows or widowers can receive the Social Security Disability Insurance of their deceased spouses if they meet certain eligibility requirements; one such requirement stipulates that the surviving spouse is at full retirement age. Survivors can also receive a percentage of the benefits if they are the sole caregiver of a child who is under the age of 16, if they are 50 or older and disabled or if they are between the ages of 60 and 65.

A surviving spouse may apply for the social security disability insurance of her deceased partner by contacting Social Security or visiting the local Social Security office. Survivors should notify the Administration as soon as possible after the death of a spouse; often, the funeral home provides this service to the family. If applicants already receive a spouse's benefits, the Administration automatically switches current benefits to survivors' benefits. Applicants who are receiving retirement or disability benefits must apply to switch to survivors' benefits.

Surviving spouses can assemble a number of documents to prepare for an appointment with the Social Security Administration. These include a death certificate, birth certificate, proof of citizenship, forms that describe the medical condition or disability and a marriage certificate. Applicants can download an Adult Disability Report from and present it to the Social Security Administration in order to expedite the process. Photocopies of W2 forms for the past year are also required.

If applicable, spouses can bring proof of military service, such as discharge papers. Present original copies of forms, because the Administration does not accept photocopies of personal documents. Applicants may also bring bank account numbers in order to set up direct deposit social security payments. Prepare to answer questions about the deceased spouse's medical history and disability during the survivors' benefits application process.