Social Security Disability Benefits for a Spouse

by Sherrie Scott ; Updated July 27, 2017
Spouses may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration offers disability and supplemental security income benefits to workers who have become disabled or display a significant financial need. Working individuals pay into these funds throughout their careers. If a worker becomes disabled at or before retirement age, monetary benefits are available to them. Under certain circumstances, Social Security disability benefits are available to spouses and other family members as well.

Eligibility

Your spouse can receive Social Security disability benefits based on your work if certain eligibility requirements are met. A spouse may receive benefits at 62 years of age or older. A spouse younger than 62 must be caring for your child who is younger than age 16 or disabled. A divorced spouse is also eligible to receive disability benefits based on your earnings. A divorced spouse who is at least age 62, was married to the recipient for at least 10 years and is currently not married may qualify for benefits.

Amounts

Social Security disability benefits are calculated based on work credits. Work credits are determined by your age, earnings and the number of years worked in a job covered by Social Security. An eligible spouse may receive a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your eligible rate. Benefits of the disabled worker are not reduced because the spouse receives benefits. However, the SSA limits the amount family members can receive to about 50 to 80 percent of the worker's benefit amount.

Considerations

In some instances, the spousal disability benefits may be reduced because the spouse is either eligible for his own Social Security retirement benefits or is eligible for other benefits not covered by Social Security such as a pension. In this case, the amount your spouse is entitled to receive under your disability benefits will be combined with his own retirement benefits. The spouse will not receive a double payment but will get a combination of benefits equal to the higher amount of the benefits he is eligible for.

Application Process

To apply for spouse's disability benefits, the eligible party must complete an application through the Social Security Administration's website, over the phone or at a local SSA office. The SSA will request several documents during the application process. For example, if the spouse applies for benefits after the disabled worker has already begun receiving benefits, the SSA will review the spouse's eligibility by requesting items such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, birth certificate, tax return information and citizenship status. An eligible spouse may also apply for benefits at the time of the disabled worker's application.

Other Benefits

Spouses may be entitled to other Social Security benefits as well. Spouses of retirement age are eligible to receive Medicare benefits and/or prescription drug coverage. Spouses may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits as long as income and other eligibility requirements are met.

About the Author

Sherrie Scott is a freelance writer in Las Vegas with articles appearing on various websites. She studied political science at Arizona State University and her education has inspired her to write with integrity and seek precision in all that she does.

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