Can Spouses of Social Security Disability Recipients Also Receive Benefits?

social security for spouses of disability recipientsWhen you start collecting Social Security disability benefits, dependents who rely on your income, such as a spouse or ex-spouse, may also qualify for benefits. Eligibility will depend on several factors, including the type of benefits that you receive, dependents’ age and their relationship to you.

Our Green Bay Social Security disability attorneys are prepared to review your situation to determine if one or more of your dependents may be eligible for benefits on your earnings.

Dependents Who May Be Eligible for Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may provide benefits to certain family members who are financially dependent on you only if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Dependents of recipients collecting Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI) are not eligible for benefits.

Current Spouses

Your current spouse may qualify for benefits if he or she is 62 years or older when you begin receiving disability benefits.

Spouses may also qualify for benefits if they are caring for a child who is under 16 years of age or disabled and is eligible for dependents’ benefits.

Former Spouses

If you are divorced, your former spouse may be eligible for disability benefits if he or she is 62 years or older, is unmarried and cannot obtain a higher benefit amount based on his or her own earning record or your earnings record. The marriage must have lasted at least ten years for this benefit to apply.

It is important to note that the amount of benefits paid to a former spouse does not impact the amount of benefits recipients and their current spouses may be eligible to receive.

Family Benefit Maximums

Each spouse or ex-spouse may be eligible to receive benefits that are equal to half of the amount of the disability benefits that you receive. However, there is a family benefit maximum. The SSA caps the family benefit amount at 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefits. A complex formula is used to determine the amount of benefits that should be paid. If the amount your dependents would receive is above this amount, benefits to all eligible family members are reduced equally.

When Spousal Benefits Are Payable

Spousal benefits are payable once he or she turns 62, unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit based on his or her own earnings record. The spousal benefit amount is permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months until he or she reaches full retirement age.

If your spouse is caring for your child under the age of 16, spousal benefits can become payable before your spouse reaches retirement age. These benefits would continue until your child turns 16. At that time, your spouse would lose benefits unless he or she is old enough to receive retirement or survivor benefits as a widow or widower.

Learn More About Your Options

Obtaining dependent benefits can be a challenge. The disability attorneys at Sigman Janssen are ready to discuss your and your spouse’s eligibility during a free, no-obligation consultation. We may also be able to help gather information during the application process, such as proof of marriage and dates of prior marriages.

Our firm charges no upfront fees. You only pay us if you receive benefits, so there is no risk to contacting us to learn more about your options.

We are available to take your call anytime. (877) 888-5201.