Can more than one family member receive Social Security Disability benefits?

When multiple people in the same household are disabled, each person that qualifies can receive benefits. Age, work history, and the payment of Social Security taxes all affect which disability program one may qualify for through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

In turn, the program through which you get your benefits can influence other things, like how much monthly support the family may receive or whether auxiliary benefits may be available to non-disabled family members.

Auxiliary Benefits for Non-disabled Family Members

When a disabled worker receive Social Security disability, his or her spouse and children can often receive benefits too. These are auxiliary benefits and are available to qualified dependents as long as the disabled worker and the dependent continue to meet eligibility requirements.

Can multiple members of a family receive benefits?

For children to receive auxiliary benefits, they must fall under one of the following groups:

  • Minor child, under the age of 18
  • Under the age of 19 and a high school student
  • An adult child, disabled before the age of 22

For a spouse to receive auxiliary benefits, he or she must either be 62 or older OR have one child under the age of 16 or a disabled child for whom he or she provides care. Ex-spouses can sometimes qualify for auxiliary benefits under these same rules. For an ex-spouse to qualify though, the marriage to the disabled worker must have lasted at least 10 years, and the ex-spouse cannot have remarried.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Multiple Recipients

When multiple members of a family or household are disabled, each may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These benefits are only available to disabled workers that paid into the Social Security system through taxes and have the work credits available to meet eligibility requirements.

When more than one family member gets SSDI, each can receive their full benefit amount, without the SSA making any adjustments due to others in the household also receiving benefits. In a situation like this though, the auxiliary benefits to which children or spouses may be entitled can vary.

Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Multiple Recipients

When a household or family includes a disabled individual that receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, auxiliary benefits are sometimes paid to qualified dependents. There are limits placed on the amount of benefits a single household receives however, so adjustments may be made to child or spouse benefits.

If two disabled individuals are married and qualify for SSI, the SSA sets a limit on the combined monthly benefits the couple can receive. This is because SSI is a need-based program. The couples’ SSI limit for 2016 is $1,100, though cost-of-living adjustments are made annually with this and other Social Security programs.

Getting Help with a Disability Claim

The SSA has many rules that govern its disability programs. Understanding all these rules on your own can be difficult, and while the staff of your local Social Security office is available to help, you may also wish to consult a disability attorney.

Disability lawyers can help you determine what benefits you may be eligible to receive. They can assist with determining if other members of your family or household may qualify as well. An attorney familiar with the disability application and review processes can help ensure you and your family receive all benefits to which every family member may be entitled.

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