Once you obtain Social Security disability benefits, you might think that is the only benefit available to your family. Actually, your children and or spouse may also be able to receive benefits through the Social Security Disability program based on your being found disabled.
These benefits are called auxiliary benefits and are used for dependents of those on Social Security disability. Here is what you need to know about how these disability benefits work and if you can get them for your loved ones.
What Are the Auxiliary Benefits?
Disabled workers who receive SSDI benefits, may also be able to get additional benefits for their children and or spouse, called auxiliary benefits. For this to happen, the disabled worker’s monthly benefit must be high enough, and their dependents must meet several requirements for eligibility.
The SSDI program is the only program that provides auxiliary benefits for dependents. People who receive SSI are not eligible for auxiliary benefits for their family members.
How Much in Auxiliary Benefits Can Someone Get?
The amount of auxiliary benefits a dependent can receive is directly related to the taxes a disabled worker paid into the SSA program while working. Auxiliary benefits are paid to the dependents of a disabled worker every month that the disabled worker is eligible to receive payments.
Also, dependents can receive retroactive pay going back to the date the disabled worker’s retroactive benefits started. Auxiliary benefit amounts are not based on how many children someone has. The benefits are the same, no matter the number of dependents.
How Are the Benefits Calculated?
Eligible dependents can receive up to 50 percent of the benefit amount a disabled worker receives in SSDI payments. For example, if someone gets $1200 per month in SSDI, a dependent spouse could get up to $600 a month in auxiliary benefits.
However, Social Security limits the total amount of auxiliary benefits a disabled worker and their dependents can receive. The program will only pay between 150 and 180 percent of the disabled worker’s SSDI benefits for dependents, regardless of the number of dependents.
How Can a Spouse Receive Auxiliary Benefits?
Typically, when a disabled worker applies for SSDI benefits, a concurrent application for auxiliary benefits is also filed for potentially eligible family members.
For a spouse to receive auxiliary benefits, they must be:
- Be under the age of 62
- Be a joint caregiver of the disabled worker’s children who are under the age of 16
If a spouse divorces an SSDI recipient, they can still qualify for auxiliary benefits if the marriage lasted for at least ten years.
How Do Children Qualify?
Dependent children must meet the following criteria to be eligible for benefits:
- Be dependent for support on the disabled worker
- Be younger than 18 (unless enrolled still enrolled in high school, then they must be younger than 19)
- Be unmarried
A child does not have to live with the disabled worker to receive benefits. For example, an eligible dependent child may live with an ex-spouse and be receiving child support payments from the disabled worker.
What about adopted or disabled children?
Children who are legally adopted can also receive auxiliary benefits. A disabled adult can also be considered a dependent and eligible for auxiliary benefits — if they became disabled before turning 22 (as well as meeting various other specific criteria).
Contact Attorney Sara J. Frankel for Assistance
The criteria and process for meeting eligibility for auxiliary benefits are specific and can be complex. Every case is different. With more than 25 years of experience in Social Security Disability law, Sara J. Frankel is well-equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to help your case.
If you are wondering if you can get auxiliary benefits for your spouse or children, contact the Law Offices of Sara J. Frankel & Associates for a free evaluation today.