When you get approved for disability benefits, some of your family members might also qualify for monthly cash benefits. The Social Security Administration will require certain information and documents for all of your eligible dependents before approving them for benefits on your work record.
The application process is challenging. A Texas disability attorney can guide you through the application and pursue an appeal of an adverse decision. A lawyer can also answer your questions, like “What types of disability benefits are available to my dependents?”
Monthly Cash Benefits
When you receive monthly cash payments of disability benefits, like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, these family members might be able to collect monthly cash benefits in addition to the payments you get:
- Your current spouse
- Your former (divorced) spouse
- Your minor children
- Your adult child who became disabled before the age of 22.
Each eligible family member might get to collect monthly cash payments of up to 50 percent of the amount you receive, but there is a limit to the amount your dependents can get. In general, you and your qualifying family members can collect up to between 150 and 180 percent of the amount of your disability benefit.
The amount that your divorced spouse collects based on your work record does not count toward the maximum benefit for the family. So, if your divorced spouse gets a disability benefit that is 50 percent of your benefit, that 50 percent will not count toward the 150 to 180 percent total for you and your dependents.
Rules for Dependents to Get Family SSDI Benefits
Each category of dependent has different rules to qualify for additional benefits based on your disability. For example:
Eligibility Rules for Your Spouse
There are two situations in which your spouse can collect monthly cash benefits based on your disability and work record. Your spouse needs to be 62 years or older or caring for a child who is younger than 16 or disabled and who qualifies for dependents benefits.
How Your Former Spouse Can Qualify for Benefits
If you and your previous spouse were married for ten years or longer before divorcing each other, your ex-spouse might qualify for monthly cash payments for your disability. Your former spouse must be unmarried and at least 62 years old.
If your ex-spouse qualifies for Social Security retirements based on his or her own work history, they will not receive dependent benefits from your disability unless your former spouse’s retirement benefit is less than the amount of the dependent disability benefit. Your former spouse cannot collect both Social Security retirement and dependent disability benefits.
Your Children and Dependents Benefits
“Your children” for purposes of disability-dependent benefits can include your biological or adopted children. Also, if you have dependent stepchildren, they can count as your children. Your child must be under the age of 18 years and unmarried to be eligible for dependent benefits.
When Can Your Adult Children Collect Dependent Benefits?
Your adult child (18 years or older) can be eligible for dependent benefits for your disability if either of these things is true:
- Your disabled child became disabled before the age of 22 years, or
- Your child is under the age of 19 years and a full-time high school student. The dependent benefits will stop when the earlier of these two events happen: your child graduates from high school or two months after your child turns 19. College students are not eligible under this category.
Sometimes your grandchild or step-grandchild can qualify for dependent benefits. A Texas disability attorney can explain how dependent disability benefits work for you and your family. Call our office today to set up a consultation.