Expensive Penny,

My ex-husband was killed in a automotive accident in November 2018. We had been married legally for 5 years. We acquired divorced so our daughter might get SSI. She has cerebral palsy. 

Once we divorced, we did not inform anybody apart from Social Safety. Not even his dad and mom knew we had been divorced. We had been planning on getting married once more on the justice of the peace after our daughter turned 18. Sadly, he was killed three months earlier than her 18th birthday.

I took care of his funeral, and I’m administrator of his property. My daughter attracts off of his advantages since she is disabled. I used to be advised I do not qualify. Is there a way round this? 

I barely labored within the 20 years we had been collectively. I stayed residence to care for our daughter. She had limitless physician appointments, bodily, occupational and speech remedy appointments, and several other surgical procedures. Even now it’s tough for me to discover a job round her schedule. 

-Surviving Partner

Expensive Surviving Partner,

Sadly, the circumstances of your divorce don’t matter to Social Safety. In the event you’re claiming retirement or survivor advantages based mostly on an ex-spouse’s record, Social Safety requires that the wedding final for not less than 10 years.


However it seems like you could qualify for one thing known as Mom’s or Father’s Insurance coverage advantages after your heartbreaking loss. This system is run by Social Safety. It’s out there to surviving spouses and ex-spouses who’re caring for the kid of a deceased employee who was absolutely insured. (In Social Safety parlance, “absolutely insured deceased employee” refers to somebody who died with sufficient work credit to qualify for advantages, which generally means they labored full time for not less than 10 years.) 


You’ll be able to obtain Mom’s or Father’s Insurance coverage advantages if the kid is youthful than 16 or, as in your case, the kid is an grownup who has a incapacity that started earlier than age 22. You don’t have to fulfill the 10-year marriage requirement, although it’s important to stay single. The utmost profit is 75% of your late husband’s major insurance coverage quantity, which is the profit he would have certified for at full retirement age

You’ll solely be eligible for this profit in case your daughter stays in your care. In the event you assume your daughter could possibly stay independently sometime or that you could be not have the ability to take care of her sooner or later, that’s necessary to bear in mind, notably in the event you don’t have sufficient work credit to qualify for Social Safety advantages by yourself.


Since being your daughter’s caregiver is clearly a full-time job, you additionally could possibly get paid as a caregiver. Many state Medicaid packages permit members of the family to earn cash as caregivers, although the principles differ extensively by state. If that is an possibility, you may earn Social Safety credit of your individual along with earnings.


Social Safety’s benefit eligibility screening tool is an effective useful resource for confirming that you simply qualify for Mom’s or Father’s Insurance coverage, together with another advantages. The principles for numerous Social Safety advantages are extremely complicated, even for individuals who cope with points like yours day-after-day. It wouldn’t shock me if Social Safety merely gave you incorrect data once they advised you that you simply didn’t qualify for advantages. 


I’m sorry that on high of the tragic loss you and your daughter have endured, you’re left to navigate these bureaucratic mazes. I hope these choices will assist to fill the monetary void left behind.


Robin Hartill is a licensed monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected].

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