SSDI Benefits for Parents
When attorneys and benefits experts discuss dependent or auxiliary Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for family members of disabled individuals, they typically focus on how dependents of disabled family members can pursue additional support. However, dependent benefits may also be available to parents who take care of disabled children, even though the children are likely not the breadwinners in the family and the parents are not dependents in the traditional sense. Applying for these “mother and father” benefits can be complicated based on the age of the child, but they are often worth pursuing in order to give a family an additional financial cushion when dealing with a challenging disability. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our knowledgeable Social Security lawyers have guided many Massachusetts parents through the process of pursuing this type of benefits.Qualifying for Benefits Based on a Parental Relationship
SSDI benefits for parents are actually considered a form of spousal benefits. Thus, the parent must have both a spouse who is disabled and a child who is disabled and in need of their support. This is because children themselves do not typically receive SSDI benefits. Instead, they may be entitled to a different type of benefit known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The parent must seek SSDI benefits through the disabled spouse and, in order to qualify, must also have a disabled child. This is why they are known as “mother and father benefits.”
Assuming that the prerequisite of a disabled spouse is met, parents can potentially qualify for additional SSDI benefits when taking care of a disabled child who is in the full-time care of the parent. If the child is over the age of 22, the parent may still be entitled to benefits if he or she can show that the child remains in the full-time care of the parents and has a mental or physical disability that precludes him or her from living independently, and that the disability started when the child was younger, rather than after the child became an adult.
Unlike other forms of dependent SSDI benefits, mother and father benefits are subject to certain income restrictions. If a parent cares for a disabled child and seeks benefits on this basis, he or she may receive reduced benefits if he or she is working outside the home while also caring for the child. The Social Security Administration sets a presumptive income threshold for benefits. If this income threshold is exceeded, the parental benefits will be reduced. Although this threshold changes each year, it is approximately $15,000. For every two dollars that a parent earns over this threshold, the SSDI benefits that he or she receives will be reduced by one dollar.Explore Your Options with a Massachusetts Lawyer When Pursuing an SSDI Claim
Deciding whether to apply for parental benefits from the SSA requires a careful consideration of multiple factors. It is often helpful to seek the advice of a qualified lawyer when you are evaluating these questions, since they can help you determine whether you are readily eligible for parental benefits, or if the complications of your eligibility outweigh the likelihood of financial support. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our SSDI attorneys can assist residents of Massachusetts with asserting the right to government benefits. From our Boston offices, we have represented individuals throughout Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and Plymouth Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. Contact us at (800) 367-0871 or online to schedule a free initial consultation.