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South Carolina women happy after qualifying for Social Security disability benefits

When Your Spouse Can’t Work, You Also May Be Eligible for Disability Income

Your spouse has health problems and can’t work. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits he or she receives are a financial lifeline for your family.

But the benefit amount may not be enough for you to feel secure.

You may wonder: When your spouse has a disability, is there any additional compensation available to you?

If you meet certain qualifications, the answer is yes.

If you’re married to someone receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive your own monthly spousal benefits.

Robertson Wendt Disability can evaluate your situation and let you know your options.

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How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits?

To be eligible for spousal benefits, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You’re 62 or older. At this age, you can receive benefits based on your spouse’s work record—unless you could receive a higher benefit based on your own record. If you collect this benefit before you reach your full retirement age, you will face an early retirement penalty, reducing the amount you get.
  • You’re caring for your spouse’s child. If you’re caring for a child of your spouse’s, and the child is under 16, you’re eligible for benefits at any age without an early retirement penalty. If the child has a disability and receives Social Security benefits, you can continue collecting spousal benefits even when the child is over 16. (If you’re caring for a child with a disability who is over age 22, you must show that the disability occurred before age 22 to receive spousal benefits.)

The rules can get confusing, but you can get help from attorney Robertson Wendt and his legal team. Robertson is one of few board certified Social Security Disability attorneys in the state of South Carolina.

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How Much Can I Get in Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits?

You can collect up to 50% of your spouse’s monthly disability benefit amount. If you also have children collecting benefits on your spouse’s work record, this amount will be reduced based on an overall cap that applies to your family as a whole.

If you have your own qualifying work record, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay that amount first.

If the amount you can receive based on your spouse’s benefit is higher, the SSA will pay that amount.

Remember: If you begin to collect spousal benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be reduced, unless you’re caring for a child as described above.

I’m Divorced from My Spouse. Can I Still Collect Benefits Based on His/Her Record?

Even when you’re divorced, you may still be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record if you meet all of these requirements:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • You’re at least 62 years old.
  • You’re not married. (With some possible exceptions.)
  • You’re not eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your own work record in an amount that is higher than or equal to your ex-spouse’s benefit.

Receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s Social Security Disability benefit will not affect the benefit that other dependents, such as a current spouse and children, are entitled to.

How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits?

When you contact the SSA to apply for spousal benefits, you will need the following documents:

  • Social Security number
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Information about any previous marriages

It’s understandable if you have questions about the requirements for spousal benefits. The Robertson Wendy Disability can help you gather all the information you’ll need to apply. We’ll treat you and your family with the care and respect you deserve.

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South Carolina man happy he qualifies for long-term disability benefits
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