When an individual gets disability benefits, their spouse may be eligible for the disability benefits as well. They may get dependent benefits based on their age or other factors. The maximum share of disability benefits that a spouse may receive is 50%. However, the exact percentage to which the spouse is entitled will depend on several other factors.
You may be eligible for spousal benefits only when your spouse receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, not when they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Below is a brief guide to help you understand the eligibility criteria and process for getting benefits as a spouse.
Eligibility Criteria for Getting Spousal Disability Benefits
There are certain conditions that an applicant must fulfill to get Disability Benefits For Spouse. The spousal benefits are only applicable when the applicants meet at least one of the criteria set forth below:
- When your spouse is at least 62 years old: The average age of a person receiving disability benefits is 54. The rules for getting disability benefits become easier when an individual is in their 50s or 60s. If your spouse is already 62, you may be entitled to disability benefits based on your spouse’s earnings. When the monthly benefits are lower than what you would receive based on your own work history, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will increase the benefits to which you are entitled. However, a penalty will be charged if the spouse collects benefits before the age of 62. In this case, the overall disability benefits may decrease, and the spouse may get a smaller share.
- When the spouse is caring for a minor child: You may be eligible for spousal benefits if you are taking care of a minor child. A child will continue to get child-dependent benefits until they become an adult. However, the spouse in this situation will stop receiving disability benefits when the child turns 16. After this, the SSA will evaluate whether you qualify for widow or retirement benefits. The SSA may also reduce the disability benefits for which the spouse is eligible if the spouse is working. When you are earning sufficient money, the overall disability benefits may be reduced.
- When the spouse is taking care of a disabled child: The SSA will also grant spousal disability benefits if you are taking care of a disabled child. In this situation, the spouse may receive disability benefits even when their child turns 16 or becomes an adult. However, when you are taking care of a disabled child over age 22, the disability must have occurred before the age of 22.
How to Get Social Security Disability Benefits From a Former Spouse
You may be eligible for dependent benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings.
However, you must fulfill all of the following criteria to get the benefits:
- The marriage relationship between you and your former husband must have lasted for at least 10 years.
- Both you and your former spouse are at least 62 years of age.
- You have been divorced for at least two years and did not remarry. When you remarry, your eligibility for spousal benefits come to an end.
You may also be eligible if you are taking care of a minor or disabled child.
These are some of the conditions under which you can claim disability benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings. In the event that you are eligible on your own merits, the disability amounts can significantly increase, allowing you to receive a higher share of disability benefits.
The SSA will ignore your second marriage in the following situations when considering whether you may collect spousal benefits:
- You are older than 60.
- You became disabled before the age of 50.
Amount of Benefits to Which You May Be Entitled
The maximum percentage of benefits to which you may be entitled based on your spouse’s earnings is 50%. The former spouse may also receive a share of 50% for their own disability benefits. However, the amount will decrease in the event that you seek to collect the benefits before you reach the appropriate retirement age.
Your benefits will primarily depend on your age and whether you care for a child. The amount for disability benefits increases when you apply for the benefits when you are older than the eligibility age.
Process for Applying for Spousal Disability Benefits
The process of applying for disability benefits remains the same. To begin the process, you will have to complete an application form. You can either submit an online form or call the toll-free number of the Social Security Office for a paper copy. You can even seek help from a legal professional and ask them to guide you through the application process.
The following documents will be required to process your application for benefits:
- Birth certificate
- Social Security number
- Marriage certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Final divorce decree, if you are an ex-spouse
- W-2 forms
- Self-employment tax forms
Ensure that you have all the documents ready before you start the application form. Consider seeking help from a Disability Lawyers In Florida to complete the application process. Your lawyer can also review your case and help you understand your chances of qualifying for disability benefits.
Your lawyer can also coordinate with the Social Security Office to ensure that your application does not face undue delay. Complete all the documents with a lawyer’s help to improve your chances of getting approved for disability benefits.