The answer is “Yes,” one’s spouse can benefit from one’s social security disability benefits (SSDI) that are paid based on a comprehensive medical records review. Not only spouses, but children and ex-spouses may be found eligible for ones’ SSDI benefits. The spouse’s benefit is provided only to SSDI recipients, not SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Qualifying family members could get up to 50% of the amount the disabled beneficiary is receiving. Application has to be made similar to that for SSDI benefits; however, for these auxiliary benefits, the applicants need not be disabled. Instead, they have to meet certain criteria of dependency guidelines. The benefit amount granted will be based on the disabled family member’s tax contribution to the social security program while he/she was working.
Important Criteria to Determine Eligibility for Spousal Benefits
- One’s spouse is 62 years or older: If one’s spouse is 62 years or older when one starts receiving disability benefits, the spouse can also get a monthly benefit based on one’s earnings record unless the spouse can get a higher benefit amount on his/her own record. However, if one’s spouse collects a spousal benefit before reaching full retirement age, there will be the early retirement penalty that will permanently lower his/her benefit. This is not applicable to a spouse caring for a child below the age of 16 who is eligible for a child’s benefit.
- One’s spouse is taking care of one’s disabled child: If one’s spouse is caring for one’s disabled child who is collecting social security benefits, he/she can get dependents’ benefits even if the child is above 16 years of age or an adult. The child has to be in the spouse’s care to collect benefits. The SSA (Social Security Administration) has to be convinced that the spouse has parental control over and responsibility for a mentally/physically challenged child. In case the spouse is looking after a disabled child over 22 years of age, the disability must have occurred before age 22 for the spouse to qualify for spousal benefits.
- One’s spouse is caring for one’s minor child: In this case, benefits are paid to a spouse who is caring for one’s child who is below 16. These benefits will stop when the child turns age 16, unless the spouse becomes eligible for retirement or widower(s) benefits. The early retirement penalty is not applicable to those caring for a child under 16. If one’s spouse works while receiving benefits based on caring for a child below 16 years of age, the SSA may reduce the spousal benefit amount.
Spousal Benefits for Former Spouses
If one’s marriage ended in a divorce, your former spouse could be eligible for benefits based on your work earnings, provided that one’s former spouse
- Was married to one for at least ten years
- Is at least 62 years old
- Is not married; there are some exceptions such as the following:
- If the former spouse marries a person who is also eligible for SS benefits including widow(er’s) or parent’s benefits, his/her spousal benefits won’t be affected.
- If the former spouse receives benefits based on one’s earnings record, any benefit amount one’s current spouse and children are entitled to is not affected.
- Cannot get a benefit based on his/her/another person’s earnings record in an amount higher than or equal to one’s.
Spousal Benefits for Survivors
A spouse married at least for a year to a disabled worker who died while receiving social security disability benefits, can get benefits in any of the following circumstances.
- The surviving spouse must be 60 years or older
- The surviving spouse is disabled and between 50 and 60 years of age
This type of benefit is also called the widower’s or widow’s benefit. In case the surviving spouse becomes eligible to receive significantly higher social security benefits on his or her own record, his/her benefits will end.
To apply for the spousal benefits, the spouse must contact the SSA. He/she will need to provide their social security number and birth certificate to the SSA. In addition, the SSA may also require his/her marriage certificate and information regarding any prior marriages. Those applying for a survivor benefit will have to provide the deceased spouse’s/ex-spouse’s death certificate or other proof.
As an experienced provider of medical record review for attorneys, MOS (Managed Outsource Solutions) can provide accurate review of medical records for disability determination. Social security disability attorneys can contact us on phone at 1-800-670-2809 or by email [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.
Disclaimer: The above content is meant for informative purposes only and has been traced from reliable internet resources. For a professional opinion on this topic, contact an experienced attorney.