How much can a spouse and child draw from husband's or wife's SSDI?

How much can a spouse and child draw from husband's or wife's SSDI?

Many people assume that everyone who qualifies for SSDI has enough money payable on their earnings record for their spouse and/or children. There is by no means a guarantee that they will receive any benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits are based upon an individual's earnings prior to their becoming disabled. If they have good earnings and have worked for a long period of time or are young with good earnings, there may be enough on the record to pay for dependents. If an individual has very low earnings or very sporadic earnings there may only be enough on the record to pay their own disability benefits with nothing extra for dependents.

There is a family maximum payable on each person's disability record. If there are benefits payable for spouse and or children, they are only eligible to receive half of what the disabled person's receives up to the family maximum.

Let us use the following example scenario: the family maximum is $4000.00 and there is one disabled person receiving $2000.00 and four dependents eligible for benefits. Social Security would subtract $2000.00 from the $4000.00 family maximum leaving $2000.00 to be divided between four dependents. Each of the dependents would receive $500.00 per month. Even though each dependent is technically able to receive $1000.00 they are only able to receive $500.00 because of the family maximum benefits payable.

In conclusion, there is no real way to say how much, if any, a spouse or child can receive on a disabled individual's record because earnings vary widely. Consequently, the amount payable to dependents varies widely as well. Again, if you have not been able to work much or your earnings are low, there is a very real possibility that the only monthly benefits payable would be paid to you as the disabled person.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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