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Can my family collect benefits based on my record?

Sometimes a disabled person must continue to provide for their family members. Fortunately, Social Security Disability can provide benefits for certain members of your family based on your record. These include your spouse, your divorced spouse, your children, a disabled child, and any adult child who was disabled before they reached age 22.

The way the Social Security Administration calculates these family benefits is complicated. The total amount you and your family can receive is based on how much you are eligible for, and how many family members are eligible to receive benefits based on your work record. Each family member may be eligible for a benefit amount that is up to 50% of your amount. Altogether, you and your family may receive a total amount in benefits that is up to 180% of your disability benefit.

However, note that there is an upper limit. If your total goes over the limit, the amounts that go to your relatives will be reduced.

Generally, a spouse can only collect disability benefits based on your record if they are caring for your child, or if they are age 62 or older. Even then, the spouse will not be eligible if they already collect a higher Social Security benefit based on their own work record. Benefits for children generally stop when they turn 18, or when they graduate high school, or if they are disabled.

There are other requirements and limitations too numerous and too complicated to explain here. To learn more about how your disability benefits can provide for your family members, speak to an attorney with experience in Social Security Disability law.

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