Social Security Disability for a Spouse Who Never Worked

Social Security Disability for a Spouse Who Never Worked

“Can my spouse benefit from social security if she or he has never worked in our current state of residence?” 

1. Has your spouse been forced to stop work, or reduce their work hours?

The crux of any social security application, the reduction in work hours, or cessation of work must have been forced on the applicant against her or his will by circumstances out of their control. That is to say, continuing to work is either made physically impossible due to a disability, or that continuing to work would cause illness, disability, or in some other way significantly damage the applicant’s health.

Sometimes this can be subjective, and open to interpretation. Many types of jobs make injury likely due simply to the nature of the work. This does not mean all typists will qualify for disability due to the high risk of repetitive strain syndrome. The applicant will need to have been examined by a medical professional who believes continuing to work is either not possible or more than usually unsafe.

2. Has your spouse applied for social security benefits before?

If your spouse has applied before and was turned down, it does not mean that he or she will be turned down again. Sometimes this consideration can be seen as taking into question the character of the applicant. It so happens that some people do commit social security fraud, or attempt to. If a previous attempt was made, and if the character of the application is suspect, it could make the process more difficult.

In any event, if your spouse’s symptoms or condition is genuine and a doctor agrees that it is genuine, his or her chances of being approved should remain high.

3. How old is your spouse?

In most states, applicants need to be between the ages of 18 and 65 to qualify for social security benefits. Anyone outside of that age range is reasonably considered unlikely to be a member of the workforce.

4. When did your spouse’s condition begin to make her or him unable to work?

If a significant amount of time has passed since your spouse’s condition made them unable to work, the social security administration may want to see proof that he or she has not found some other means of obtaining income. This can make the application process much longer and more complicated.

5. Is your spouse currently being treated by a doctor?

The input of a medical professional who understands the applicant’s medical condition and personal history well is an important part of the application process. The applicant will need a documented doctor’s opinion stating that the applicant is currently unable to work due to an illness or disability. The best way to obtain this is to regularly see a doctor who can deliver a recent and timely opinion to that effect.

Other Considerations

Spouses who have been married for at least ten years, and surviving spouses of a deceased partner, or an ex-spouse, may be entitled to social security benefits based on the earnings records of a currently or one-time disabled spouse.

A spouse may obtain social security benefits if he or she is 62 years old and has been married to a social security recipient for at least one year. In this instance, eligibility will end if he or she becomes qualified to receive benefits on their own.

Recipients may receive an early retirement penalty if they take benefits at age 62, before full retirement.

If a marriage partner is married for at least one year to a disabled worker who dies while taking Social Security benefits, the surviving spouse may receive benefits under the following conditions;

  • The surviving spouse of a least 60 years of age
  • The surviving spouse is disabled and between the ages of 50 and 60

In Conclusion

Applying for social security benefits is based largely on subjective factors that are subject to interpretation. To have the best chance of being approved, eliminating legal variables is a must. A social security attorney will be able to reduce the uncertainty and help ensure that you obtain the benefits you need and have earned.


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