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Friday, September 15, 2017

I’m Receiving Social Security Disability - Can My Family Receive Auxiliary Benefits?

Accidents, illnesses, and any number of other calamities can suddenly and unexpectedly remove you from the workforce.  When that happens, it generally has a very disruptive effect on a family’s finances.  For that reason, in addition to offering disability benefits to the worker, the Social Security Administration offers “auxiliary benefits” to certain members of that worker’s family to help stabilize and support the family.

Who qualifies to receive auxiliary benefits?

First, it’s important to clarify that auxiliary benefits are only available through SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance); they are NOT available through SSI (Supplemental Security Income).  The following family members of SSDI recipients can qualify to receive auxiliary benefit payments:

  • Elderly Spouses - One way a spouse can qualify to receive auxiliary benefits is simply to reach the age of 62 years old.
  • Co-parent Spouses - A spouse can also qualify to receive auxiliary benefits if he or she has children with the disability recipient.  The spouse must be under the age of 62, the two spouses must be joint caregivers for the child or children, and at least one child must be under the age of 16.
  • Divorced Spouses - Additionally, ex-spouses of disability recipients can qualify to receive auxiliary benefits through SSDI if they were married to the disability recipient for at least ten years.
  • Children - Children of disability recipients can receive auxiliary benefits until they turn 18 as long as they are not married and are enrolled full-time in school.
  • Adult Children - Under some circumstances, the children of a disability recipient can continue receiving auxiliary benefits after they turn 18.  Children who are still enrolled in high school can typically continue to receive auxiliary benefits until the turn 19 or graduate, whichever occurs sooner.  Additionally, children with disabilities can generally continue receiving auxiliary benefits after they turn 18, and may also be eligible for “childhood disability benefits” at that time.

How much do family members receive in auxiliary benefits?

The amount a person receives in auxiliary benefits depends primarily upon how much the disabled worker paid into social security through taxes while he or she was employed.  That means that two of the biggest factors in determining how much auxiliary benefits are worth include how much the worker earned and how long he or she worked.  However, the Social Security Administration also considers a variety of other factors, such as the cost of living where the worker lives.  Typically auxiliary benefits are worth about half of what the worker receives in disability benefits; for example, if the worker receives $1,000 each month in SSDI payments, his or her child will probably receive $500 each month.

Unfortunately, qualifying to receive the social security benefits that you and your family have earned and paid for can be notoriously difficult.  However, our staff of attorneys are experienced in the details and minutiae of social security laws and regulations, and we have helped hundreds of families just like yours receive the benefits they are entitled to.  If you are receiving SSDI and have questions about your family members receiving auxiliary benefits, call us to arrange a free consultation.

 


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