Anyone who has ever applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) knows the process can be difficult. The chances are high that you’ll initially be rejected and have to appeal before you can receive benefits under the program. What you may not realize is that, under some circumstances, your relatives may also claim benefits once you’ve been approved.
Prerequisites for dependent benefits
The ability to receive SSDI is based upon having a qualifying disability and an established work record of your own. For dependents who have a disability, but lack the necessary work record, they would not be able to qualify on their own merits. But if you’ve already been approved for SSDI benefits, they may be able to piggyback on your work record, using it two satisfy the second requirement.
Benefits for children
If you have a disabled child under the age of 18, that child may qualify for SSDI benefits on your record so long as they remain unmarried. This includes biological children, adopted children and stepchildren.
If a dependent child is under 19, but enrolled in a secondary school as a full-time student, they may still receive benefits. If an adult child became disabled prior to their 22nd birthday, they can qualify for benefits on your record. Generally, adult children must remain unmarried to receive such benefits.
Benefits for spouses
If your spouse becomes disabled, and has an insufficient work record of their own, they may be able to collect SSDI on your record if they are 62 or older. Even if your spouse is not disabled, if they are caring for your disabled dependent child, they may still be able to receive benefits.
The amount of benefits which dependents can receive will vary, depending upon the amount of your benefits. If multiple dependents, such as a spouse and child, are receiving benefits at the same time on your record, there will be a cap to the total amount which can be awarded.