Disability FAQs about Family Benefits

Common Questions About Family Benefits (Spousal, Widow/Widower, Child) from the Social Security Administration

Will a spouse’s income affect my claim?
The SSA does not consider your spouse’s income – whether high or low. Instead, you apply for your benefits with your income for SSD. If applying for SSI, your spouse’s income does apply, and the SSA will consider any income from your spouse available to you, which affects how much you qualify for.
I was a stay-at-home parent and now I am disabled. I never worked, and my spouse has died. Can I receive benefits for myself and my children based on my spouse’s earnings?
Yes, you can if you are at least 50 years old. In this situation, you are applying for a disabled widow’s benefit. Your disability must have begun within 7 years of your spouse’s death or within 7 years of the time when your children were under 16 years.
What disability benefits do children qualify to receive?
A disabled child under 18 years can receive SSI benefits. The standards used in these claims are stricter than an adult seeking SSI benefits for their disability. Therefore, it is best to consult with an attorney.
Can my children receive benefits if I am disabled?
The SSA allows children to receive benefits if their parent is eligible and disabled, retired, or deceased. Children receive benefits until they turn 18 or graduate high school – whichever comes later. Their benefit amount depends on how much the adult would have received, and if the parent did not earn much of a living to invest in Social Security, the child may not receive anything.
Can a disabled child earn benefits under a parent's earnings?
Children who are over 18 years can receive their adult child’s share of benefits as long as their disability started before they turned 22. Also, the insured parent must be disabled, deceased, or now receiving Social Security retirement.

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