Social Security Disability & Family Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available not only for disabled individuals, but also for a disabled person’s family members in some circumstances. Current and former spouses, disabled children, and non-disabled children may all be able to receive benefits due to another family member’s disability.
Do I Qualify for My Spouse’s SSDI Benefits?
If you qualify for SSDI benefits, your current spouse may also be able to receive benefits under your work record. This is important for spouses who have never worked, who haven’t worked long enough to qualify for benefits based on their own work records, or who have worked but received such a low income that they do not qualify for much in the way of benefits.
Currently, a disabled person’s spouse may receive benefits based on the disabled spouse’s work record if:
- the spouse is age 62 or older; or
- the spouse is taking care of a child who is under age 16 and/or who is also disabled.
If the spouse qualifies for benefits on his or her own work record, but this amount is lower than what he or she would get on the other spouse’s work record, SSA may pay benefits up to the higher amount, based on a combination of work records.
Former spouses may also qualify for benefits based on their ex’s work record if they meet all the following requirements:
- age 62 or older;
- married to the former spouse for at least 10 years;
- not married; and
- not eligible for more benefits on his or her own work record or someone else’s record.
Do Children Qualify for SSD Benefits?
Children of a disabled parent may also qualify for Social Security benefits, whether or not the child is also disabled. Non-disabled children qualify for benefits if they are under age 18, or are age 18 or 19 and still enrolled in a K-12 school.
Until a child is 18 years old, the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally does not consider whether or not the child is disabled when providing benefits based on a parent’s work record. Between ages 18 and 22, a disabled child may receive disability benefits based on a parent’s work record, whether or not the parent is disabled, as long as the child meets the SSA’s definition of disability. From age 22 onward, a disabled person may only qualify for Social Security disability based on his or her own work record or a spouse’s work record – not a parent’s.
How Do I Get Maximum Family Benefits?
Social Security will pay benefits to multiple family members of a disabled person, but only up to a certain dollar amount. This amount is based on the disabled person’s work record.
Each family member may qualify for payments of up to 50 percent of what the disabled person receives in benefits each month. However, the total benefits any one household may receive is limited. This amount is generally capped at 150 to 180 percent of the disabled person’s benefit. Since benefits are based on a disabled person’s work record, the actual dollar amount will be slightly different for each person.
Putting the Best Interests of Your Family First
Figuring out exactly what benefits each member of your family may receive can be difficult, especially when a disability is already limiting your ability to take care of daily tasks. The skilled Los Angeles disability benefits attorneys at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office can help. Contact us today for a free consultation at (800) 438-7734.