My husband has been deceased or 21 years. I am 52 years old and I have a disabled daughter that is 26, which lives with me.
You might be able to draw both a Social Security benefit off of your deceased husband and your own teacher's retirement benefit, but not now.
There are three circumstances in which a widow can draw a Social Security benefit off a deceased spouse's work record:
1) If she's over 60 years old,
2) If she's over 50 years old, and became disabled within 7 years of her husband's death,
3) If she's caring for the deceased's child under age 16, or disabled child.
It is possible that caring for your disabled daughter, even though she's no longer a "child," would satisfy option 3, IF she's found disabled by Social Security. Assuming her disability began before she reached age 22, she could be found entitled to what are known as "child's benefits" with Social Security, and would receive a benefit of her own, from your husband's work record, independent of the benefits you might be eligible for. If she is found disabled by SSA, then it should be a fairly simple matter to get you approved for "mother's benefits."
This is pretty complicated stuff, so I'd advise you to speak to a Social Security attorney in your area about it. There are a lot of details and extra requirements that I haven't mentioned, but these are the broad strokes. Good luck to you both.
Jeremy Bordelon is a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee only, and is authorized to practice in all Tennessee State and Federal courts, and before the Social Security Administration in any jurisdiction. Please call our firm at 1-866-959-5362 if you would like to discuss your case in more detail. The answers provided on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. In some jurisdictions, this answer may be construed as attorney advertising.
I suggest you call your local SS office for advice.
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