If your injury or illness prevents you from working and entitles you to SSDI benefits, you should know that family members who were financially reliant on you may also be eligible to receive benefits. Your spouse or former spouse, and children, may be eligible to receive up to 50 percent of the amount you receive, and they will get paid on a monthly basis.
If your spouse is 62 or older, he or she may collect benefits on your earnings record, unless he or she collects more based on his or her own record. However, your SSDI benefits may be reduced by a certain percentage based on how many years you have before you turn 65. For example, if you start receiving benefits at 63 years old, your benefits will be reduced by approximately 25 percent. If your spouse is not yet 62, they may still receive benefits if they are caring for a child under the age of 16 or a child who is disabled.
Divorced spouses who are at least 62 years of age and were married to you for at least 10 years may also qualify for benefits on your earnings record, as long as they are unmarried and not eligible for the same benefits or higher benefits on their own record.
Children under the age of 18, 18 to 19-year-old children who are full-time high-school students, or adult children that have a disability that began before the age of 22, can also receive disability benefits on your record.
Keep in mind that there is a maximum amount of money each family can receive, and the SSA will reduce your family members’ benefits if the payable benefits exceed this maximum. Generally, the maximum will be 150 to 180 percent of the benefits you are receiving. However, the benefits payable to your family members will not affect your personal benefits.