If you are an individual who has recently been approved to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you may be relieved to learn that your dependent family members may possibly be eligible for benefits as well. Spouses and children frequently qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments through your own SSDI approval in the form of “auxiliary benefits.” At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security attorneys have worked with many Massachusetts families to explore and apply for family benefits based on an individual’s disability.Understanding Auxiliary Benefits
Auxiliary benefits, also known as dependent benefits, are additional SSDI benefits that may be available for the family members of an SSDI recipient. They are generally available only to those family members who previously relied on the SSDI recipient for support and familial income, such as underage children or a spouse. A family member who is entitled to receive dependent benefits can potentially receive up to 50% of what the principal SSDI beneficiary currently receives. The exact amount is dependent on the overall award to the SSDI beneficiary and the family limitations imposed by the SSA. Within a family, the total amount of benefits received by family members cannot exceed 150%-180% of the beneficiary’s benefit as calculated by the SSA.
Certain requirements apply in order for a family member to receive disability benefits as a dependent. These vary according to the role of the family member at issue. Since children are generally dependent on their parents until they come of age, children who are under the age of 18 and unmarried generally are eligible for dependent benefits. This includes biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren. If a child is over the age of 18, he or she may still be eligible for benefits if the child is also disabled and the disability occurred before the child was 22 years old.
Spouses are eligible for dependent benefits only in more limited circumstances. The spouse must be 62 years of age or older, or he or she must be caring for a child who is under 16 years of age and who is also eligible for SSDI dependent benefits. This applies for ex-spouses as well, as long as the former spouse has not already remarried. In certain circumstances, even the grandchildren and parents of a disabled individual can qualify for SSDI dependent benefits. Although qualifying under one of these two relationships is more complicated, the most important showing is that the dependent relied on the disabled individual for income prior to the disability and is not otherwise receiving support from another source.Explore Your Options with a Government Benefits Attorney in Massachusetts
When a disabling injury or medical condition occurs to a worker who is the main source of income for his or her family, the sudden loss of salary often affects not only the disabled worker but also his or her family and dependents. The Social Security Administration recognizes that this is often the case and has implemented a policy of providing dependent benefits to family members of disabled workers so that the entire family unit can move forward from the trauma of disability. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our government benefits lawyers believe that SSDI applicants in Massachusetts and elsewhere should maximize their benefits to the full extent possible, including applying for dependent benefits when appropriate. From our Boston offices, we serve individuals throughout Middlesex, Essex, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Norfolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. Contact our office for more information at (800) 367-0871 or through our online form.