How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stephanie O Joy, Esq Your Own Question
Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13283
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
10805288
Type Your Social Security Question Here...
Stephanie O Joy, Esq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I took widows benefit at age 60 then became disabled at age

Customer Question

I took widows benefit at age 60 then became disabled at age 63.SSA put me on my own work record. Not on a disabled widows. When I was FRA
in 2008 I went for survivors benefits, was turned down. A reconsideration was done and added to my benefit in 2011,also in 2011 was retracted for a SSA repayment
saying "it was a mistake". (4 qualified agents have handled this case saying that the payment is owed at the increase.
I had to appeal and it seems no one is listening. I now need a district lawyer. It has taken this long winding thru these court delays for an answer that should have been shown on paper as to why I can`t get the increase at FRA widow. Each had 40 + years work record.Marr. 27 years. Not remarried. Deceased at age 59.Was told his benefits would always be more than mine till possibly age 70,( by the ssa agent that initially processed widows benefits at the start of this process in 2002. What`s the law answer?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

Hi, my name is***** and I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney in my private practice – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here is coming through for you by typing a quick reply.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

With regard to your post:

"I took widows benefit at age 60 then became disabled at age 63.SSA put me on my own work record. Not on a disabled widows. ------ That would be because your own was bigger, at 100% of yours, vs. 71% of his.

"When I was FRA
in 2008 I went for survivors benefits, was turned down. -------- Why was that? Because yours was bigger.

"A reconsideration was done and added to my benefit in 2011,also in 2011 was retracted for a SSA repayment
saying "it was a mistake". (4 qualified agents have handled this case saying that the payment is owed at the increase.
I had to appeal and it seems no one is listening. I now need a district lawyer. It has taken this long winding thru these court delays for an answer that should have been shown on paper as to why I can`t get the increase at FRA widow.--------- The judge at your ALJ hearing should have issued a written decision expressing the law to which he applied to the facts of your case. Did he do that? Do you have it?

"Each had 40 + years work record.Marr. 27 years. Not remarried. Deceased at age 59.Was told his benefits would always be more than mine till possibly age 70,-------- If he passed away at age 50, there would be NO DRCs earned by him to age 70, therefore no increase to his amount beyond his FRA amount.

"( by the ssa agent that initially processed widows benefits at the start of this process in 2002. What`s the law answer? ------- I am not even clear on the question, so please restate the precise question in ONE question, so I can be sure I am addressing the true issue. Thanks, ***** ***** forward to assisting you.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Event $1102.(reduced)at 60 Which one is lawfully right?
FRA $770.(50% increased 2008) bfore 1954
Total $1872. Total $1643. (2016)
This is his work record. This is my work record receiving now
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The $1872.was husbands total in 2008. The $1643. is mine 2016
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ALJ used RS00615.420 which didn`t address any other circumstances.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
To support my claim I submitted to Appeals consul "Office of Inspector General " A-01-07-27122 May 2007
Adjustment of Widow's Insurance Benefits at Full Retirement Age
Social Security Administration
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

OK, if you collect a widow benefit (not disabled) at age 60, it is 71.5% of HIS amount. If you become disabled, you are now also eligible for your OWN benefit and can take the higher of the 2. If one is disabled, it is important to be FOUND disabled by SSA, so that your zero earnings after that does not drag down your retirement rate - it is frozen in time, so to speak.

Note that to get disabled widow benefit, you must be disabled, between the age of 50 and 60, and you must have become disabled either before your spouses passed away or within 7 years thereafter. Does that apply to you?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
He passed in 2000 and I was awarded disability in 2005
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

OK, so you were 66 in 2008, and 63 in 2005 and 58 when your spouse passed away in 2000, and 60 in 2002.

IN 2000 - At age 58 at the time of his passing, and not disabled, not eligible for any kind of benefit (unless you had a minor child).

Next date, at age 60, in 2002, you became eligible for a surviving widow benefit at 71.5% of his rate. You did opt for this reduced widow amount (the 71.5%). But not eligible for your own benefit, because you were not of regular "early" retirement age, nor disabled.

Then, in 2004, at age 62, you became eligible for your own reduced retirement benefit, but likely didn't take it because you were taking survivor benefit.

In 2005, at 63, you become disabled and apply for SSDIB, you now become eligible for that one more option - your own disability benefits (at FULL amount). You state, ".SSA put me on my own work record. Not on a disabled widows." This is correct because disabled widows is ONLY when you are between 50 and 60. At 60, it is JUST widows benefits if on his record, which you took until you decided to file for your own disability benefit. You OWN disability benefit is equal to your OWN full retirement rate retirement amount.

In 2008, at the age of 66, your FRA, your SSDIB you took changes in name to SS retirement - in full.

I think you are saying that you sought to change from your Full retirement back to a survivor benefit. They denied you, you appealed for Recon, and you won in 2011, getting a lump sum benefit of some amount. Then SSA appealed that Recon decision and it was found that you shouldn't get the increase. So you appealed that. Apparently you lost after ALJ hearing.

Now you also say, I THINK:

At 60, you got your survivor benefit of 1102. I think you are saying that, yes? Doing the math, 1102 is 71.5% of 1541 (which may have been his PIA at that time because the 2016 amount would be after adding years of COLA (cost of living adjustment).

I am NOT sure what you are saying 770 is - at your FRA. You mention 50%, which implies you are speaking of a spousal benefit, but you weren't eligible for spousal because you were a widow. The 50% spousal is replaced by the higher widow amount. SO what is the point you are making about the $770?

You then seem to be adding the 770 to the 1102 to get your 1872. But we don't add these two because we are not permitted a spousal PLUS a survivor benefit - but anyway, please clarify. And why to you believe that sum, 1872 is your spouse's PIA in 2016?

OK, moving on, you indicate your own PIA is 1643. So, that is what you are collecting as a retired person who did NOT collect retirement earlier than FRA, correct?

So is your end question, why am I not getting 1872 instead of 1643? Let me know.

Now, I am going to try to find the 2 references you suggest. The ALJ's RS and (if I can find it, the OIG's letter). While I am doing that, please confirm my various questions above, OK?

You then say, I think, that you are adding the 1102 you got at age 60, plus a his PIA was 1872 in 2016 - I would imagine COLA would have increased it, yes, although I can not say how much in those 8 years, as I am not the accountant.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The agents at SS office done the figures as I do not have the skills to interpret which benefit is allowed and which is declined.
$1102. reduced amt. His FRA amt. was $1540. / 50% as surv. spouse at my FRA $770 and $ 1102.reduced =[$1872.]Although as 2 fully insured individuals each contributed 12.4% to this insurance or 24.8% total,to provide all sorts of benefits beyond retirement; including disability, spousal, divorce spousal, child, survivor, mother+ father, child in care, parents implying that all these are for purpose while full auxurilly benefits for disabled are not allowed. I say I think because that may be what was calculated with colas added to GN 00204.020F.2.b and RS 00615.756-A* a beneficiary`s rate is established by "law " to be a set percentage of the insured individual.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

HI, OK:

"The agents at SS office done the figures as I do not have the skills to interpret which benefit is allowed and which is declined.
$1102. reduced amt. His FRA amt. was $1540. / ---------- OK, so his FRA, as I had estimated, was 1540 making your survivor benefit, as noted above, at 1102 at 71.5%.

50% as surv. spouse -------------- No, surviving spouse does NOT go below 71.5%. There is no 50%.

at my FRA $770 and $ 1102.reduced =[$1872.] ------ There is NO basis to add these two together. Why are you doing so?

Although as 2 fully insured individuals each contributed 12.4% to this insurance or 24.8% total,to provide all sorts of benefits beyond retirement; including disability, spousal, divorce spousal, child, survivor, mother+ father, child in care, parents implying that all these are for purpose while full auxurilly benefits for disabled are not allowed. ------- Not sure what you are saying there. Auxiliary benefits are those that we get on someone else's work record. And there ARE disabled widow benefits available between the age of 50 and 60 at 71.5%. Non-disabled widows get nothing at that age. After 60, we need not prove disabled, we just only need prove we are over 60 and an eligible widow. Or, if more beneficial, we can collect our own disability benefits that we worked for at 100%.

"I say I think because that may be what was calculated with colas added to GN 00204.020F.2.b and RS 00615.756-A* a beneficiary`s rate is established by "law " to be a set percentage of the insured individual." ------ Yes.

So, now that you know you do not add a 50% rate $770, to a 71.5% survivor rate, does that clarify for you that you do not get a benefit of 1872 from anywhere? You can get a widow benefit or take your own full amount.

But this is not what I thought you were originally asking about. I thought you were saying that you were underpaid for a different reason? But, is the reason you believe you are underpaid because you believe you should be getting both benefits, the 50% (spousal) and the 72.5%, which would be bigger than your own amount you are now collecting?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

Your online SS legal resource!