Can My Dependents Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

man in wheelchair listening to musicIf you are filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, and you have dependents, you may be wondering whether those individuals also qualify for benefits. The answer is yes, but it is important to understand some of the rules surrounding SSD and dependents.

You can file your application and the application for your dependents at the same time or file each application individually. Let our Appleton-based Social Security Disability lawyers help you through the process. We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim, and there are no hourly fees if you choose to work with us. We only receive payment if you are approved for benefits.

Call (877) 888-5201 today.

What Dependents Qualify for SSDI Benefits?

Your dependents may be eligible for up to 50 percent of your SSD benefits. These benefits are also known as auxiliary benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines who qualifies as a dependent.


Your spouse can also claim SSD benefits so long as he or she meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Is 62 years old or older
  • Is caring for your minor child who is younger than 16
  • Is caring for an adult child who became disabled before the age 22

For your spouse to receive SSD benefits as well, he or she must not be receiving a Social Security retirement or disability benefit of his or her own that exceeds the spousal benefit from your SSD. The SSA refers to eligibility for multiple types of benefits as “dual entitlement” and will only pay the higher of the two benefits.

Divorced Spouse

If you are divorced and seeking SSD benefits, your former spouse may also be eligible for benefits only if the following criteria are met:

  • He or she is 62 years old or older and has not remarried
  • The marriage lasted at least 10 years

If your former spouse remarries, he or she will no longer be eligible for your SSD benefits.


If you have children who depend on you, they may also be eligible for an SSD check. To receive benefits, the child must be:

  • Your biological child
  • Adopted child
  • Stepchild

Grandchildren may also qualify as dependents only if you have custody of said child. If you have a step grandchild, then his or her parents must both be deceased, and you must have adopted the child.

Benefits for a child do not depend on the marriage status of his or her parents. If you were not married to your child’s second parent, then you must prove parentage for your child to qualify for benefits.

Other requirements for your child to be able to receive benefits include:

  • Being unmarried
  • Being younger than 18, or
  • Being a full-time high school student who is younger than 19

Full-time college students who are older than 18 do not qualify for benefits. If your child marries before the age of 18, his or her benefits will also stop.

If you care for a disabled adult child who is unmarried and became disabled before the age of 22, he or she may also qualify for benefits.

Is There a Maximum Family Payout for SSD Benefits?

There is a limit to how much a single family may receive in SSD benefits.

According to the SSA, the maximum family payout varies, depending on benefit amounts and the number of qualifying members. Generally, families may not receive more than 150 to 180 percent of disability payments to a single person.

This means that if you have three children and a spouse who qualify as dependents, each of their allotted benefits will be reduced to fit into that 150 to 180 percent limit.

Any payments for SSD benefits made to your former spouse will not affect the benefits you and your current dependents receive.

Will My Dependents Also Receive Backpay if I am Approved for Benefits?

Once you and your dependents are approved for SSD benefits, you all qualify for backpay. This means that any months you were waiting to qualify for benefits should be paid to you in one lump sum.

If you were approved for benefits before your dependents, then the months you spent waiting for approval may also be paid in one lump sum to your dependents. For example, if you were approved in January, but your child or spouse did not get approved until March, you should receive a lump sum for the months of January, February and March of that same year.

Have More Questions? Call Us Today

If you are applying for SSD benefits, your dependents may also qualify. Call our knowledgeable attorneys today to help you through the process.

We offer a free consultation, and there are no upfront fees for our services.

Call (877) 888-5201 today.