Providing for your dependents, both while living and after you die, is no doubt very important to you. For this reason, it is important that you understand Social Security benefits for survivors and dependents. If you are disabled and not working, and are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, your dependents may be able to collect benefits on your record, as may your survivors in the event that you die. Those persons who can receive benefits on your earnings record include your:
- Spouse – if age 62 or older or caring for a child under age 16, or is also disabled;
- Divorce spouse – who was married to you for at least 10 years, is at least 62 years of age, has not remarried, and is not eligible for an equal to or greater benefit on their own record;
- Disabled children; and
- Adult child – who became disabled before age 22.
According to Social Security laws, each dependent listed above is only able to receive up to 50 percent of your disability rate, and the total amount a family can receive is up to 180 percent of a single individual’s disability benefit award.
If you are currently receiving SSDI benefits and you die, your dependents will be allowed to continue collecting benefits on your record. Spouses are likely eligible to receive widow’s or widower’s benefits; children who are unmarried and under 18 years of age (unless still in high school) can receive benefits; and adult children (either who became disabled before age 22 or is under 19 years old and is a full time student), dependent grandchildren, and dependent elderly parents may also all be able to recover benefits on your record as well. There are many different categories of survivors’ benefits, so it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney about which you may qualify for and how to apply in order to ensure that you or your loved one recover the money you/they are entitled to.
Also, remember that if you are divorced, your ex-spouse may also be eligible to correct benefits on your record assuming that certain criteria are satisfied.