There are special rules and additional benefits paid to your family if you pass away, but this article deals only with benefits paid to your family while you are still living. A spouse/ex-spouse can earn one-half of what the primary spouse will earn. This does not affect the amount paid to the primary spouse.
Current / Prior Spousal Benefits
The current spouse of someone entitled to retirement or disability (SSDI) benefits may be entitled to receive benefits under the higher earner’s Social Security if certain requirements are met. These include:
1. they are 62 or older; or
2. they provide care for a child under the age of 16; or
3. they provide care for a disabled child who is getting SS benefits
The former spouse of someone eligible for retirement or disability benefits may also be eligible to receive benefits under their ex’s Social Security if:
1. they can prove they were legally married for at least 10 years; and
2. they are 62 or older; and
3. they are not currently married.
Benefits for Dependents
If a person becomes eligible for SSDI, their dependents are also entitled to receive benefits. Each dependent may be eligible for a benefit equal to one-half of what the primary receives. This does not affect the primary’s benefit. However, there is a maximum a family can receive. It ranges from 150 percent – 180 percent of the primary’s benefit depending on additional factors.
To qualify, the dependent must be:
1. under the age of 18;
2. under age 19, and still enrolled in high school; or
3. disabled before reaching age 22
It’s nice to know that SSA helps us provide for our loved ones in the event that we become unable to do so ourselves.
Additional information can be found online at www.socialsecurityjustice.com.