Once you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, certain members of your family may also be entitled to payments; auxiliary benefits may be available for your spouse, your former spouse, and your children.
Auxiliary Benefits for Your Spouse
Your spouse may be eligible for payments upon your award of SSDI benefits, if the spouse is (i) caring for your child, or (ii) age 62 or older.
To receive benefits for caring for your child, the child must either be under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits. Benefits for a spouse caring for your child under age 16 will end once that child reaches age 16.
Similarly, when your spouse reaches age 62, he/she will be eligible for benefits based on your earnings record. However, the monthly amount your spouse will receive at age 62 will be less than if he/she waits until full retirement age to receive the benefit.
If your spouse is eligible for SSDI benefits based on his/her own earnings record, your spouse will receive either that amount or the amount based on your record, whichever is higher.
Auxiliary Benefits for Your Former Spouse
A spouse you have divorced will be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings if he/she is (i) at least 62 years old; (ii) unmarried; (iii) was married to you for at least 10 years; and (iv) is not eligible for a higher benefit amount on his/her own.
Auxiliary Benefits for Your Children
Your child will be eligible for SSDI benefits if the child is unmarried and (i) under age 18; or (ii) 18 or 19 and a full-time elementary or high school student; or (iii) 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
For the child under age 18, the benefit will stop when he/she reaches age 18. For the full-time student, the benefit ends upon graduation or 2 months after the child’s 19th birthday, whichever comes first. For the disabled child, the benefit will last for the duration of the disability. An eligible child may be biological, a step-child, adoptee, or dependent grandchild.
As far as the amount of SSDI benefits your family members are entitled to, each may receive up to half of your benefit amount, but there is a limit on the amount SSA will pay family members in total. The limit depends on your benefit amount and the number of family members who qualify based on your record, but the total is generally around 50 to 80 percent of your benefit amount.