Published on: August 4, 2015
Are you concerned about the well-being of your family due to constraints from your disability? Wondering if your disability benefits can also be disbursed to family members? While it’s true that certain family members may be qualified to receive benefits on your record, be aware there are requirements that must be met for each family member.
The SSA can provide a monthly benefit for each family member up to 50% of your disability rate. What does that total come out to, then? It’s not the same number every time; it is dependent on your benefit amount and how many family members are qualified on your record and the Family Maximum amount established for that record. A general figure is 150-180% of your disability benefit. If it exceeds this, the payments to your family members will be decreased proportionately.
In this article, we are going to cover the list of family members who can qualify, as well as some basic facts regarding each.
Who can Qualify on my Record?
According to the SSA’s official website, the following family members can qualify on your record:
Spouse – if your spouse is age 62 or older, or if he or she is any age and taking care of your child (until that child reaches age 16), he/she can qualify for benefits on your record. If your spouse is also eligible for retirement benefits, he or she will get a combination of benefits where it equals a higher amount (he/she will get the higher of the two benefits).
Divorced spouse – even if you remarry, your ex-spouse can qualify if you were married to him or her for at least 10 years, are 62 years or older, be unmarried and not have an equal or higher benefit on his or her own SS record
Children – this can be a biological, adopted or stepchild (and even a dependent grandchild, in some cases). Usually, the child needs to be under 18 or a full-time high school stude under age 19, and if they are older than 18 have a disability that began before 22 years-old
Disabled child – the same as the last point, in which the child has a disability that began before 22 years-old and him or her must meet the disability definition for adults
Adult child disabled before age 22 – this is paid under a parent’s SS earnings record, and he or she must be age 18 or older, be unmarried and have a disability that started before age 22
Keep in mind your benefits won’t be affected in conjunction with what your family members’ benefits are ). Also, if your spouse has a pension that is work-based and not covered by SS, his/her benefit on your record can be reduced or eliminated.
It’s important to note these are all general points, and every single family member may not qualify to receive Social Security benefits under your record. If you’re concerned about a family member’s eligibility, make sure you contact an expert disability advocate so they can evaluate your and the family member’s claims to rule out any problems that may arise. To learn more about what to do once you have SS benefits, check out our resource here.