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Can family members obtain benefits if a person gets SSD benefits?

Many Georgia residents work very hard to provide for themselves and their family members. Indeed, many Georgia families depend on each other for all kinds of support, including financial support.

This need for support does not end when a person suffers a disability. Accordingly, individuals who are interested in obtaining Social Security disability benefits may wonder how they can continue to support their family, even if they are no longer able to provide the income from work they once did.

Fortunately, family members are also able to qualify for benefits when a person begins receiving SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration's rules provide that a spouse, divorced spouse, children, disabled children or adult child who is disabled before age 22 can qualify for benefits based on a person's record. Accordingly, by providing the required information and establishing their relationship to the individual receiving SSD benefits, these family members can also be paid benefits.

In terms of the amount of benefits available, each family member is eligible for a monthly benefit that runs up to 50 percent of the individual's disability rate. At the same time, there is a maximum family amount that applies. This maximum family amount depends on certain factors, including the benefit amount for the person receiving SSD benefits and the number of family members who qualify based on that person's record.

In general, the total amount is about 150 to 180 percent of the individual's disability benefit. While family members could see their benefits reduced if the sum of benefits payable is greater than the family limit, the individual receiving SSD benefits will not have his or her benefits affected. Accordingly, individuals and their family members should understand not only that these benefits are available, but what the process is for obtaining benefits for family members.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability planner: family benefits," accessed on Feb. 13, 2015

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