Disability Benefits for the Divorced Spouse of a Disabled Worker

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I am really confused about a few important details for my ex-spouse to collect SSDI benefits based on my claim. I have my hearing next month and expect to be awarded.

FYI: Divorced spouses are often entitled to SSDI benefits when their ex-spouse begins to collect disability benefits (SSDI), or sometimes after a disabled ex-spouse dies. These are called auxiliary benefits. Certain criteria must be met and I believe my ex-husband meets all of them. You can read about this topic on the SSA website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

I
read this on the SSA website about collecting benefits at FULL retirement age: "If your ex-spouse was born before January 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, they can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until a later date. If your ex-spouse’s birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If your ex-spouse files for one benefit, they will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits."

My ex-husband will turn 62 in June, so born after 1954. And what I am confused about is this: If he applies for auxiliary benefits does he also have to apply for retirements benefits under his own record, too, since he will not have reached FULL retirement age? The last sentence in the paragraph above makes it seem to me that he does. OR can he delay applying for retirement benefits under his own record until he reaches age 67 the full retirement age BUT collect the auxiliary benefits now?

Also is he entitled to any retroactive auxiliary benefits since I have been disabled since March 2017?

How do I add my ex-husband to my claim? Or how does he apply for the auxiliary benefits through SSA?

My SSDI attorney is not helping me with this. Should she be?
 
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Mary

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@I AM Phoenix - without trying to wade through all of that, I think it would probably be best for your ex to get his own disability attorney. He can probably get a free consultation. And SSDI disability attorneys only collect if they win and their fee is set by statute.
 
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@I AM Phoenix - without trying to wade through all of that, I think it would probably be best for your ex to get his own disability attorney. He can probably get a free consultation. And SSDI disability attorneys only collect if they win and their fee is set by statute.
HI @Mary My attorney said that an SSDI attorney only handles SSDI cases. This is not an SSDI case, which is the reason my attorney said she did not have the answers for me.

He only needs to apply for auxiliary benefits similar to applying for SSI form what I understand.

I am sure there is someone on this board who has been in this situation. I am hoping that they respond. If not, I guess that I can call SSA. If I do, I will update my original post for knowledge sharing.
 

Mary

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Hi @I AM Phoenix, I misunderstood, I thought you were saying he was trying to collect disability benefits off of your disability somehow. Yeah, someone here might be able to help you, and also you can call Social Security and ask them directly. You just might reach a knowledgeable person! :sluggish:
 
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@Mary in a related vein... with regard to my own SSDI claim, do I get all of my back pay or is it limited to 12-months? I am reading conflicting info on this and thought you might know as someone whom I presume has been awarded her SSDI. Also, once we reach age 62 do we still collect our SSDI or does it switch to regular SS, which is far less money. Thank you, my love!
 

Mary

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@Mary in a related vein... with regard to my own SSDI claim, do I get all of my back pay or is it limited to 12-months? I am reading conflicting info on this and thought you might know as someone whom I presume has been awarded her SSDI. Also, once we reach age 62 do we still collect our SSDI or does it switch to regular SS, which is far less money. Thank you, my love!
I think you should receive all of your back SSDI benefits, from the date when you were first entitled to receive them, which at that time was one year after I had stopped working. I stopped working in 2001, and thereafter received state disability for one year. Then I applied for SSDI, which took about a year (I was very fortunate, I won on my first appeal) and I was awarded benefits retroactive to 2002. I'm assuming the rules are still the same, but this is something your attorney should answer for you.

What I didn't realize was that I didn't have to wait until my first year of being unable to work was ended before I applied for SSDI. I could have applied right away, when I first became disabled, if my doctor said I would be disabled at least a year (or perhaps permanently, I can't remember), and then if I won SSDI, I would have started collecting benefits after the first year. As it was, we had to take out a loan to get by the year where I received nothing from the state or SSDI while I was waiting for my application to be processed and then the appeal.

I don't think SSDI switches to regular SS until age 65. My benefits didn't change - they stayed the same, they just were called something different.
 
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Thank you, again @Mary . You have been so pleasant and helpful. I truly appreciate your dedication as a volunteer moderator. I know that is a lot of work, and tiring. God bless you.

I applied for my SSDI the very next day after I stopped working. I was self employed on a long term contract with a client. Thus I was not entitled to benefits and have had zero income since my last say of work. Such a shame that I did not become disabled when I had a private disability policy that would have paid me 80% of my income from the big corp I had been working for... water under the bridge.

I also hired an attorney right off the bat. They have done a lot of work for their $6k. Since they get that amount regardless of how much work they do, it made sense to me to hire them from day one (rather than after my denials) to let them handle all of the paperwork and remove that burden and anxiety from me. I focused, instead, on healing.

I had to sell my dream house, my home that I dearly loved, or I should say I thought that selling her was the best approach (and now I am not so sure)... more water under the bridge. This is what I did in order to support myself. I left the workforce in March 2017. My case was expected to take 3 years... for some reason it is coming up for the hearing 23 months after applying. I figure maybe the state wants to get me off their dole and onto the federal dole?
 

zzz

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@I AM Phoenix, I have had to look into these issues at various points, so I think I can help you here.
I read this on the SSA website about collecting benefits at FULL retirement age: "If your ex-spouse was born before January 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, they can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until a later date. If your ex-spouse’s birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If your ex-spouse files for one benefit, they will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits."

My ex-husband will turn 62 in June, so born after 1954. And what I am confused about is this: If he applies for auxiliary benefits does he also have to apply for retirements benefits under his own record, too, since he will not have reached FULL retirement age? The last sentence in the paragraph above makes it seem to me that he does. OR can he delay applying for retirement benefits under his own record until he reaches age 67 the full retirement age BUT collect the auxiliary benefits now?
Basically, what that last sentence from the quote means is that he just files one application for benefits, and SSA figures out which is the greater benefit - his full benefit or half of yours - and pays him that amount. If he applies before age 67, his entire benefit is reduced just the way it would be for anyone else, regardless of whether the total amount being paid is just his benefit or half your benefit, in the case that that is larger. The benefit is currently treated by law as a single benefit, so he cannot collect some now and the rest at age 67.
Also is he entitled to any retroactive auxiliary benefits since I have been disabled since March 2017?
No.
How do I add my ex-husband to my claim?
You don't have to. SSA keeps track of this automatically.
Or how does he apply for the auxiliary benefits through SSA?
As implied by the last sentence of your quote, SSA will automatically award him the higher benefit.
My SSDI attorney is not helping me with this. Should she be?
She gave you the correct answer when she said that she doesn't handle this because it's not an SSDI case. His case should be quite straightforward, and I would think that you would need another attorney only if you run into problems.
with regard to my own SSDI claim, do I get all of my back pay or is it limited to 12-months?
You can get back pay up to 12 months before you filed your disability claim, based on when your disability started. However, there is a five month waiting period from the start of your disability for which you never get paid. So for example, to get the entire 12 months of back pay, your disability would have had to have started at least 17 months before your disability application.
Also, once we reach age 62 do we still collect our SSDI or does it switch to regular SS, which is far less money.
SSDI switches to regular SS at your normal retirement age (which is later than 65 for most of us), and the amount does not change. (I have gone through this myself.)

Hope this helps...