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Ask Christopher B, Esq. Your Own Question
Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2981
Experience:  associate attorney
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I had been turned down for widows benefits 3 yrs ago due to

Customer Question

Hi, I had been turned down for widows benefits 3 yrs ago due to the 9 month rule. I appealed 2 yrs ago and they had lost my file. I reappealed a yr ago and just was turned down again tody. I wasnt married 9 months but my husband was a healthy mailman who never took sick days. I included in my appeal his pay stubs showing his accrued unused sick leave and a copy of an insurance policy taken out about same time of our marriage for his ex wife that showed he had passed their physical with a a+...do i have any chance with a SSA la judge?
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else important you think the Retirement Accountant should know?
Customer: he was in Atlantic City with his friend over night and he died of natural causes unexpectedly.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

Under what rule are you thinking that you meet an exception to the 9 month rule?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

Here are the exceptions, in case you don't have them. Let me know which one you think he meets and we can review. I am assuming you are trying for (i), and if so, you must meet that definition of accidental death, not illness (and you don't mention how he passed away).

"(2) Your relationship to the insured as a wife or husband did not last 9 months before the insured died, but you meet one of the conditions in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(i) At the time of your marriage the insured was reasonably expected to live for 9 months, and the death of the insured was accidental. The death is accidental if it was caused by an event that the insured did not expect, if it was the result of bodily injuries received from violent and external causes, and if, as a direct result of these injuries, death occurred not later than 3 months after the day on which the bodily injuries were received. An intentional and voluntary suicide will not be considered an accidental death. [Illness does not constitute accidental death, unfortunately.]

(ii) At the time of your marriage the insured was reasonably expected to live for 9 months, and the death of the insured occurred in the line of duty while he or she was serving on active duty as a member of the uniformed services as defined in §(###) ###-#### [Was he in the line of duty?]

(iii) At the time of your marriage the insured was reasonably expected to live for 9 months, and you had been previously married to the insured for at least 9 months. [You probably would have mentioned this, so I am thinking this does not apply.]

(iv) The insured had been married prior to his or her marriage to you and the prior spouse was institutionalized during the marriage to the insured due to mental incompetence or similar incapacity. During the period of the prior spouse's institutionalization, the insured, as determined based on evidence satisfactory to the Agency, would have divorced the prior spouse and married you, but the insured did not do so because the divorce would have been unlawful, by reason of the institutionalization, under the laws of the State in which the insured was domiciled at the time. Additionally, the prior spouse must have remained institutionalized up to the time of his or her death and the insured must have married you within 60 days after the prior spouse's death." [Again, does't seem to apply.]

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 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.

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I think you misunderstood my question, I already have a copy of the provisions from SSA and also an old answer of yours regarding same topic of someone's spouse who was ill. My Husband was not ill. he died from an unexpected EVENT of a heart attach. He had no known previous heart disease or illness as I mentioned before, which I can prove. . So would this be possible to win an appeal in front of a SSA Judge?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. Thank you for your question and for using justanswer.com.

If the estate tax code and the lifetime exemption stay at least at the current levels, $5.43 million then yes this very much does make sense but you can never assume that. The only downside I would see is if somehow the lifetime exemption is lowered or eliminated altogether and then you get stuck with a big estate tax at your death when you otherwise would not have. If you are willing to take this chance and assume that the estate taxation system will consider to be similar to what it is now, then yes this makes sense to get a step up in basis for your children. You might want to look at all the assets and make sure there has been appreciation that would lead this to make sense. If you have authority to do so and are in good health then you might want to take some time to see what the future climate will be. This is the only downsiode I can think of.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will be greatly appreciated.