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Answers to FAQs About Social Security Disability Benefits for Dependents


The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays monetary benefits to individuals who are disabled and cannot work, as long as they meet certain requirements. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets eligibility rules for disability programs, and an important one for SSDI is your work history. You must have a minimum number of work credits, which you earn through employment based upon a quarterly calendar. If you meet the criteria, you will receive monthly benefits for living expenses and can eventually qualify for Medicare.

However, many people who rightfully receive payments for SSDI do not realize that certain family members may also qualify for benefits. The idea is that you are unable to contribute to their needs while out of work, so they could obtain amounts through the same program. A Maryland Social Security disability lawyer can explain the details, but answers to some common questions about dependents’ benefits is useful.

How do SSDI dependent benefits work? The primary recipient must first qualify for SSDI benefits before any members of your family would be eligible. Once approved for benefits, members of the family may receive a separate monthly payment, which could be as much as 50 percent of what is paid to the primary recipient. In 2023, the average amount people receive for SSDI is $1,358 per month, though the maximum is up to $3,627. Note that dependents are not eligible for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

 Do I qualify for SSDI dependent benefits? The children of a person receiving SSDI qualify, as long as they are under 18 years old or under 19 years old and attending high school. If the primary recipient has an adult child who became disabled before age 22, that child may also be eligible.

Can a spouse be eligible? The SSDI recipient’s spouse may also receive payments from the program, but only if he or she is at least 62 years old. Even an ex-spouse may be eligible for SSDI dependent benefits, if:

  • The marriage lasted at least 10 years;
  • The ex-spouse is 62 years or older;
  • The person is not remarried; and,
  • The ex-spouse is not eligible for separate benefits based upon their own Social Security record.

 Is there a limit on SSDI dependent benefits? There is a limit on what SSA will pay to a family when one member is receiving SSDI. Based upon the number of eligible family members, the full benefits available are 150 to 180 percent of the recipient’s amount. The 50 percent allotted to each person is reduced to ensure the total payment is under this value.

Talk to a Maryland SSDI Attorney About Benefits for Dependents 

You may have many additional questions about the SSDI program, and our team at the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC is prepared to answer them. Please contact our firm today to set up a no-cost consultation with a Social Security disability lawyer. We can meet with you at our offices in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis, MD to discuss details about SSDI for dependents.


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