Will my children get benefits if I get approved for disability?

If you are approved for Social Security Disability, there is a possibility that your children or spouse may be eligible for monthly benefits as well. The amount available to pay the dependents of a disabled beneficiary depends upon the beneficiary's earnings in the years prior to becoming disabled.

Basically, the amount your children or spouse can be paid, if any, depends upon your earnings over the years. If you were young, worked at low paying jobs, or had not worked much before becoming disabled, there is even a chance that your children, while eligible for benefits, would receive no monthly check.

How Social Security pays benefits to dependent childen

Social Security Disability pays the disabled beneficiary first, then pays eligible dependents if the family maximum allows payment.

All Social Security Disability beneficiary records include a primary benefit amount, or PIA, that is paid to the beneficiary and a family maximum that might include additional money for dependent benefits. The amount payable for dependents is determined by subtracting the disability monthly payment amount from the family maximum.

If you are not receiving all the money available on your record, there will be a remaining amount of money available for your children and/or spouse to receive a monthly benefit. Each dependent is eligible to receive a monthly benefit amount equal to half of your monthly disability benefit amount.

Often, the family maximum does not provide enough money to pay all dependents their full amount. If you have one dependent but not enough money to pay an amount equal to half of your benefit amount to them, your dependent will simply receive a monthly benefit amount equal to the amount remaining on your record. If you have more than one dependent, that same remaining amount is equally divided between all of your eligible dependents.

What happens when dependent children reach age 18?

Your children are eligible to receive monthly benefits until they are eighteen years old, or nineteen if they are still enrolled full time in high school unless your child is disabled.

If Social Security determines that your adult child is disabled, they may continue to receive "disabled adult child benefits" on your record indefinitely--provided that they do not marry or they marry a Social Security Disability beneficiary (if they marry a person receiving Supplemental Security Income disability, their adult disabled child benefits will be terminated).

If your spouse receives monthly mother-in-care benefits, they will be terminated when your youngest child turns sixteen years old unless they are caring for your disabled adult child.

If you are approved for SSI disability, instead of SSD (Social Security Disability), there are no monthly monetary benefits payable to your spouse or your children. SSI is a need-based disability program and, as such, benefits are only payable to disabled beneficiaries who meet the SSI program's income and resource limits.

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.

Questions and Answers

1. How Long Does It Usually Take To Get Disability After I see Their Medical Examiner?

2. Why Will A Social Security Disability Application Get Denied? (SSDI Denial)

3. Can I Receive More Social Security Disability If I Get Another Condition Or Illness?

4. Does Your Doctor Decide If You Get Disability?

5. Does The Social Security Judge Use The Same Rules As The Disability Examiner?

6. Will You Be Denied For Disability If Your Records Indicate You Can Return To Work?

7. Will Social Security Grant Disability If I Have Not Been To the Doctor?

8. If I Request A Hearing For SSDI, How Long Will I have to Wait?

9. How Will Social Security Look At My Case If I have More Than One Disabling Condition?

10. Your Chances With SSDI On the First Appeal

11. The Social Security Award Notice after Disability Benefits are Awarded

12. Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

13. Why Is It Hard to be Found Disabled for Social Security Disability or SSI for Seizures?

14. Do Disability Lawyers Require A Retainer?

15. Are Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?

16. Is There Social Security Disability For Children?

17. How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?

18. Do Most Social Security Disability Reconsiderations Get Turned Down?