Can My Family Get Benefits from Social Security?
When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your record. Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit that is up to 50 percent of your disability rate. However, there’s a limit to the total amount of money that can be paid to a family on your Social Security record. The limit varies, but is around 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit. If the sum of the benefits payable on your account is greater than this family limit, the benefits to the family members will be reduced proportionately. Your benefit will not be affected.
Benefits are payable to your spouse
• age 62 or older, unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit based on his or her earnings record. The spouse benefit amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months up to his or her full retirement age.
• at any age if he or she is caring for your child under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits. Your spouse would receive these benefits until the child reaches age 16. At that time, the child’s benefits continue, but your spouse’s benefits stop unless he or she is old enough to receive retirement benefits (age 62 or older) or survivor benefits as a widow or widower (age 60).
If your spouse also worked under Social Security
If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on his or her own record, SSA will always pay that amount first. But if the spouse benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, he or she will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount.
It doesn’t matter if your spouse starts getting benefits before, after, or at the same time you do–SSA will check both records to make sure that your spouse gets the higher amount whenever he or she becomes entitled to it.
If your spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, his or her Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.
Your divorced spouse
If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.
(If your spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, his or her Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.)
To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must:
• have been married to you for at least 10 years;
• be at least 62 years old;
• be unmarried; and
• not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on his or her own Social Security record, or on someone else’s Social Security record.
NOTE: The amount of benefits payable to your divorced spouse has no effect on the amount of benefits you or your current spouse may receive
Benefits to your children
When you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.
To receive benefits, the child must be unmarried; and
• be under age 18; or
• be 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or
• be 18 or older and have a disability that started before age 22.
Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.
Within your family, each qualified child may receive a monthly payment up to one-half of your full disability amount, but there is a limit to the amount that can be paid to the family as a whole. This total depends on the amount of your benefit and the number of family members who also qualify on your record. The total varies, but it is approximately 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit