TN 24 (09-02)
RS 00615.315 Simultaneous Entitlement to Widow(er)'s Benefits and Disabled Widow(er)'s Benefits (D and W)
A. Policy - eligibility
An individual who is originally entitled to either widow(er)'s (WIB) or disabled widow(er)'s benefits (DWB) may be entitled to the other benefit if all eligibility requirements are met and such entitlement would maximize his/her benefits. For example, a person entitled as a DWB may become subject to suspension because of extended period of eligibility rules. In that case, if the claimant is age 60 or older, electing to receive WIB instead may maximize his/her benefits. Upon attainment of full retirement age (FRA) all beneficiaries are converted to WIB so this election is only possible for those from age 60 to FRA.
B. Policy - benefit amount
When an eligible person elects to switch from WIB to DWB or DWB to WIB the PIA and the reduction factors remain the same.
C. Policy - entitlement to HI/SMI coverage
If a DWB beneficiary is entitled to HI/SMI coverage, that coverage will continue even if the claimant elects to change to WIB.
If an eligible DWB or WIB beneficiary wishes to change to the other type of benefit:
A signed election is necessary to change from DWB to WIB or WIB to DWB, or to make a subsequent change after the first election.
Whenever the claimant elects to receive one type of benefit instead of the other, the reason for requesting that particular benefit must be documented. There are several reasons for choosing a benefit option. One reason is the effect of work and earnings on each type of benefit. Those effects must be compared in order to determine whether WIB or DWB is more beneficial.
After the claimant has elected to change from WIB to DWB or DWB to WIB she/he may elect to change back because of a change in circumstances.
Entitlement to either DWB or WIB does not terminate the prior entitlement to the other type.
The change from DWB to WIB or WIB to DWB can be made for any month that applicable eligibility requirements are met. This can be the current month or any month in the past. Retroactivity rules do not apply.