SSDI Family Benefits

Massachusetts Attorneys Advising Applicants for Social Security

If you are recently disabled and applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may not be aware that benefits from the Social Security Administration may be available not only to you but also to others in your family who depend on you for financial support. While special criteria and limitations apply, your family could potentially be eligible for hundreds of dollars in extra benefits to support them during your time of disability. If you are a principal disability applicant, or a dependent family member of an individual who has recently become disabled, it is important that you take the time to research and evaluate these additional benefits options. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our experienced Social Security lawyers have years of experience guiding residents of Massachusetts through the process of applying for benefits. We can help you determine whether your family members may be eligible for SSDI as well.

Qualifying for Family Benefits

Family benefits, which are sometimes also referred to as auxiliary benefits, may be available to certain groups of dependent family members, including child dependents of SSDI recipients, spouses, and even certain parents of disabled children. Generally, the primary requirement for eligibility is that the family member is dependent on the disabled individual for financial support. However, certain age and marital requirements do apply, so it is important to carefully review the eligibility factors for any applicable groups before seeking family benefits.

Calculating family benefits for a dependent family member can be tricky. Each individual family member may be entitled to receive anywhere from 50% to 100% of the full amount received by the principal disability recipient. However, there is an overall limit on the benefits that individuals in a family can receive, known as the maximum family benefit. This maximum family benefit means that a family cannot accrue unlimited disability payments through the applications of numerous family members. Instead, in total, each family is allowed only a certain amount of family benefits.

The maximum family benefit is generally between 150% and 180% of the amount being received by the principal disability recipient, including the principal’s benefits. If the recipient is currently receiving $1,000 per month in benefits, therefore, the maximum family benefit would likely range between $1,500 and $1,800 per month. There is no fixed amount of maximum family benefits. Instead, the number is calculated based on the principal recipient’s award of benefits, the type of family member seeking benefits, and the number of overall eligible family members.

The SSA imposes three additional rules that dictate the maximum family benefit allowed. First, the maximum cannot be more than 85% of the principal recipient’s average indexed monthly earnings. Second, it cannot be less than the amount that the principal recipient is receiving himself or herself. Third, it cannot exceed 150% of the principal recipient’s benefits, excluding the principal’s own benefits.

Finally, it is important to note that the amount that family members receive, or the maximum family benefit calculated, will not affect the amount received by the principal disability recipient. The principal’s benefits will never be reduced.

Discuss Your SSDI Claim with a Knowledgeable Massachusetts Lawyer

The process of asserting your right to government benefits may be long and complex. Disabled individuals in Massachusetts who are seeking to establish their SSDI eligibility may benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney. At the Boston firm of Kantrovitz & Associates, we serve people from throughout Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and Plymouth Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. To set up a free consultation about your benefits application, call us at 800-367-0871 or contact us online.