Stay-At-Home Widowers And Denied Disability Benefits: How Do You Overcome It?

If you're a disabled stay-at-home dad whose spouse recently passed away after 15 years of marriage, you may apply for Social Security Disability benefits to compensate for your loss of income. But if the Social Security Administration, or SSA, denies your application without even looking at it, you may not know what to do or who to speak to about your plight. The SSA can deny stay-at-home parents benefits if the organization doesn't feel that they earned enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. Here are things you should know about your bid for SSDI and how you can overcome them.

You May Qualify For Your Spouse's SSDI

If your spouse worked and earned enough Social Security credits from their years of employment, you and your children may be able to qualify for survivor's benefits. However, applying for widower's benefits isn't an easy task. You must have proof of your loved one's work history, including how long and where they worked.

One of the things you might do is contact your spouse's former place of employment by certified mail, even if you previously informed the company about your loved one's death. Some jobs may not want to reveal their employees' information by phone or email due to privacy and identity theft laws. The letter you send should be witnessed and notarized by a Social Security Disability lawyer, a legal aide or an authorized notary. A notarized letter informs the former employer that you are indeed your loved one's spouse.

Your letter should request the:

  1. First day, month and year your deceased spouse became employed at the job.
  2. Last day, month and year your deceased spouse worked at the job.
  3. Job position and role of your deceased spouse.
  4. Legal address of the job, including any corporate addresses.
  5. Names, contact phone numbers and email addresses of your deceased spouse's former supervisors and managers.

If your loved one's former employer doesn't comply with the letter or your requests, contact a Social Security Disability attorney, such as one from the Nelson Law Firm LLC, for help. An attorney may also try to obtain SSDI benefits for you based on your own work history while they wait for a response from your loved one's employer.

You May Qualify For Your Own SSDI

You may think that since the SSA denied your application right away, you don't qualify for benefits. That may not be true. The SSA is known to deny first-time applicants, even if the applicants qualify for benefits later. You have the right to appeal your denial by requesting a hearing, and an attorney can help you do so.

A disability attorney will generally go through your initial application and look for things you missed or left out when you completed it. For example, if you didn't list all of your employers, including the jobs you obtained as a teen or young adult, the SSA can say that you didn't put in enough work credits to receive benefits. 

In addition, an attorney may be to access jobs that no longer exist. For instance, if you worked at a factory that went out of business years ago, a lawyer may be able to locate the company's new place of business through an Internet database. You can also help a lawyer with your case by giving them any old pay stubs and W-2 forms you received from your employers. Even if the forms are outdated, they may still contain some valuable information an attorney can use for your case, including the employers' tax identification numbers.

Once an attorney compiles your information and receives the right documentation from your spouse's former employer, they will appeal your denial through the hearing. If the SSA approves your appeal, you and your children may receive benefits. An attorney can discuss what you may expect from your appeal hearing when they meet with you.

For more information about your denied claim, contact a disability lawyer today.