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Widow Benefits LawLosing a spouse is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences, and during such trying times, understanding the legal aspects of widow benefits is essential. In Alabama, there are specific laws and regulations in place to provide support and assistance to surviving spouses. A proven and capable Mobile, AL benefits attorney can help you understand the legal aspects of widow benefits law and work towards the best possible outcome.

Eligibility Criteria for Widow Benefits in Mobile, Alabama

Surviving spouses in Alabama may be entitled to Social Security survivor benefits as per Ala. Code § 45-49A-81.12. These benefits are based on the deceased spouse’s earnings record and can provide financial support to the surviving spouse and, in some cases, dependent children.

Alabama’s laws outline eligibility criteria for widow benefits, typically governed by Social Security regulations:

  • Age of the Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse must be at least 60 years old to qualify for Social Security widow benefits. However, benefits can be claimed as early as age 50 if the surviving spouse is disabled.
  • Relationship to the Deceased: The surviving spouse must have been legally married to the deceased individual. Common-law marriages may also be recognized, provided they meet the legal criteria in Alabama.
  • Duration of Marriage: In general, there is no specific duration of marriage required for the surviving spouse to be eligible for widow benefits. Moreover, the marriage must have occurred before the deceased spouse’s death.
  • Deceased Spouse’s Social Security Credits: The deceased spouse should have earned sufficient Social Security credits for the surviving spouse to be eligible for benefits. The number of credits required depends on the age of the deceased spouse at the time of death.
  • Remarriage Status: Remarriage can affect eligibility for widow benefits. If the surviving spouse remarries before the age of 60 (or 50 if disabled), they may lose eligibility for certain Social Security survivor benefits. Remarrying after these ages generally does not impact eligibility.
  • Disabled Surviving Spouses: Disabled surviving spouses may be eligible for widow benefits as early as age 50, provided they meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.

Timing of Widow Benefits Application in Mobile, AL

The Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age at which individuals are entitled to receive their full Social Security retirement benefits. For widow benefits, the FRA is typically between 66 and 67, depending on the individual’s birth year. Applying for widow benefits at the FRA can ensure that you receive the full amount. If you apply for the benefits before reaching the Full Retirement Age, it can result in a reduction in the monthly benefit amount.

The reduction is calculated based on the number of months before the FRA that benefits are claimed. On the flip side, delaying the application for widow benefits beyond the Full Retirement Age can lead to increased monthly benefits. For each month beyond the FRA that benefits are delayed, you may earn delayed retirement credits, potentially increasing the benefit amount by a certain percentage.

Can Your Mobile, AL Widow Benefits Application Get Rejected or Denied?

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the application may be rejected. To qualify for widow benefits, the deceased spouse should have earned a sufficient number of Social Security credits. If your deceased loved one did not accumulate enough credits, you may not be eligible for benefits.

In some cases, there may be a cap on the total amount of survivor benefits payable to a family. If the total benefits payable to all survivors exceeds this cap, individual benefits may be reduced, leading to a denial for some claimants.

Individuals claiming benefits based on disability will also need to meet the criteria listed by the Social Security Administration for disability. You should undergo a disability assessment at leading hospitals in Mobile, such as the University Hospital or Providence Hospital.

You have the right to appeal the decision if your application gets rejected or denied. The appeals process allows applicants to present additional evidence or address any errors that may have led to the initial denial. You should immediately speak with an SSA attorney to learn more about available options.

Factors Influencing the Amount of Widows Benefits Awarded in Mobile, AL

The amount of widow’s benefits, specifically those provided through Social Security, is determined by various factors, and it can vary for each individual.

  • Full Retirement Age or Older: Surviving spouses who are at full retirement age or older are eligible to receive 100% of the deceased wage-earner’s benefit amount.
  • Ages 60 to Full Retirement Age: Surviving spouses between the ages of 60 and full retirement age can receive a benefit ranging from 71 1/2% up to 99% of the full retirement benefit amount.
  • Disabled Widows or Widowers (Ages 50-59): Disabled widows between the ages of 50 and 59 are eligible for a benefit amount equal to 71 1/2% of the wage-earner’s benefit amount.
  • Widow or Widower Caring for a Child Under 16: If a widow of any age is caring for a child under the age of 16, the benefit amount is 75% of the deceased wage-earner’s benefit amount.

Choose a Seasoned Mobile, AL Social Security Attorney to File Your Application 

The experienced widow benefits attorneys at Walton Law, LLC can guide you through the process, answer your questions about widow benefits law, and help you maximize the benefits available to you. Our Mobile, AL attorneys have helped several clients file successful applications and obtain the benefits they are entitled to. To schedule your free and confidential consultation with us, call 251-455-5819 or write to us online.

Things to Know About Widow Benefits Laws in Alabama

Discover everything you need to know about widow benefits laws in Alabama. Learn about eligibility criteria, application timing, denials, benefit amounts, and more with the experienced Mobile, AL attorneys at Walton Law, LLC. Call 251-455-5819 for a free consultation today!

Service Type: Widow benefits lawyer