When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on your work, including your:
- Divorced spouse.
- Adult child disabled before age 22.
If any of your qualified family members apply for benefits, we will ask for their Social Security numbers and their birth certificates.
If your spouse is applying for benefits, we may also ask for proof of marriage and dates of prior marriages, if applicable.
Maximum Family Amount
Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability benefit amount. However, there is a limit to the amount we can pay your family.
The total varies, depending on your benefit amount and the number of qualifying family members on your record. Generally, the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit.
Benefits For Your Spouse
Benefits are payable to your spouse:
- Age 62 or older, unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. The benefit amount for your spouse is permanently reduced by a percentage, based on the number of months up to their full retirement age.
At any age if they are caring for your child under age 16 or who was disabled before age 22, and is entitled to benefits.
If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security
If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will always pay that amount first. But, if the spouse’s benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, they will get a combination of the two benefits that equals the higher amount.
Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse
If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.
(If your ex-spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, their 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.
- Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record, or on someone else's Social Security record.
Benefits For 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.
- 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 disabled from 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.
Find out more about Benefits For A Disabled Child.