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Social Security Disability Benefits: Special Situations

Social Security Disability Benefits: Special Situations

Obtaining Social Security benefits can be a long and difficult process. Under SSDI and SSI, there are special situations where Social Security will distribute benefits. This post Social Security Disability Benefits: Special Situations dives into these specific instances.


The first of these special situations is for those who are blind or have low vision. If you are blind, there different rules Social Security follows that allows you to receive benefits when you’re unable to work. Under Social Security rules, you are considered blind if your vision can’t be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye for a period that lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months. There are special rules that are different for those who are considered blind; an example being that in 2019, the monthly earnings limit is $2,040 whereas for those under disability who are not blind can only make a maximum of $1,220 a month.

Widow/ Widower

The next special situation is survivor benefits for widows and widowers. If something happens to a worker (who already receives SSDI or SSI benefits), those benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability. This is only possible if he/ she is between ages 50 to 60, their condition meets the definition of disability for adults, and the disability started within seven years of the worker’s death. Check out our ‘Planning for Spousal Survivors’ post for more information on survivor benefits.

Disability Benefits for Children

Another special situation is benefits for children with disabled dependents. In this circumstance, Social Security does not need to consider the child’s disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as your dependent. Benefits for these children normally stop at age 18 unless he/she is a full-time k-12 student or is disabled themselves. An adult that is disabled before the age of 22 is potentially eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving disability or retirement benefits. Social Security will consider this ‘child’s benefits’ because the award is paid under a parent’s earnings. To be approved, the adult child must be unmarried and must have become disabled before turning 22.

Wounded Warriors and Veterans

The last special situation is for wounded warriors and veterans. Under Social Security guidelines, veterans with a VA compensating rating of 100% permanent and total (P&T) can receive expedited processing for benefits. Benefits available through Social Security require a separate application because they are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs. P&T does not guarantee automatic disability benefits with Social Security, but it can speed up the process.

Talk to Our Office Now

These special situations are sometimes difficult to fully understand. To learn more about these special circumstances and the process for SSDI/SSI or to review your current claims with a disability benefits specialist, call or contact us at Harbison & Kavanagh in Virginia today to schedule a free appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

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