Yes, if you are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your spouse can receive a benefit based on these requirements:
- You have been married for at least one year
- Your spouse is 62 or older
- Your spouse is caring for your child who is under 16 or is disabled and entitled to benefits
What Is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federally funded programs designed to assist people with disabilities.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), in order to qualify for SSDI, you must meet these requirements:
- You have earned a set number of work “credits” prior to your disability.
- Your medical condition prevents you from working.
- Your disability or illness is listed in SSA’s Blue Book.
SSDI functions like an insurance program. When you pay federal taxes, a portion of these taxes goes into the program. These taxes are categorized as SSDI “credits.” The age you were disabled will impact how many credits you need to qualify for SSDI.
How Much Does SSDI Pay?
As of 2022, SSDI pays out an average of $1358.00 per month to individual recipients. Spouses and qualifying family members can also receive a portion of these benefits.
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How Do Spousal SSDI Benefits Work?
Spouses of SSDI recipients can receive up to 50% of their husband’s or wife’s disability benefits if applied for at full retirement age (66 and 4 months, soon to rise to 67) or if the spouse is caring for the disabled person’s child.
Keep in mind, SSDI spousal benefits could be reduced if certain requirements are not met. We will explain those in more detail in an upcoming section.
How Do I Apply for Spousal SSDI Benefits?
The SSA offers an online portal for those seeking spousal SSDI benefits. Through this portal, you will be guided through the application process.
Prior to beginning your application, you should be prepared by having the following documentation on hand:
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status
- Birth certificate or another similar proof of birth documentation
- Marriage certificate
- Documentation of a divorce if you are filing as an ex-spouse
- W2 forms and other similar tax forms
Factors That Could Reduce Spousal Benefits
As previously mentioned, each family member of an SSDI recipient, spouses included, can also receive a monthly benefit. For spouses, this benefit can be as high as 50% of the SSDI recipient’s monthly benefits.
This payment is in addition to what the SSDI recipient already receives.
There are a few factors that could reduce this payment amount, including:
- The spouse has not yet reached full retirement age.
- The spouse also qualifies for SSDI. In this case, SSA will pay the greater of the two benefit amounts.
- The spouse is already receiving a monthly pension.
Can Divorced Spouses Receive an SSDI Benefit?
If you are divorced, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits from your former spouse. The eligibility requirements for ex-spouse benefits are the following:
- You must be at least 62 years old.
- You must have been married to your ex-spouse for 10 years.
- You must be currently unmarried.
- You must not be eligible for a higher SSDI benefit of your own, or receive benefits from a current spouse.
Could Securing SSDI Help Me Support My Family?
SSDI and spousal benefits could help you support your family if you were recently disabled. Qualifying for SSDI can be a complex process and may require an appeal if you are initially denied.
Meeting Disability Requirements
According to SSA’s Blue Book, the list of qualifying disabilities include:
- Severe ADHD
- Back injuries
- Heart issues
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- And more
To qualify, you must demonstrate that your disability prevents you from gainful employment. You will need medical documentation that supports this claim.
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Could a Lawyer Help Me Apply for SSDI?
SSDI claims are frequently denied. If your claim is denied, you will need to appeal the decision.
A Social Security Disability lawyer can help with the application and appeals process. They can put their expertise to work for you and provide the following services:
- Help you file initial application documentation
- Help you understand what led to your application’s denial
- Help you understand the appeals process
- Represent you during the appeals process
What Should I Do if My Claim was Already Denied?
If your claim was denied, you’ll need to initiate the appeals process. Typically, this process includes several steps, including:
- An initial reconsideration
- An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing
- An Appeals council review
- A Federal court review
A Social Security Disability lawyer can represent you during these hearings and fight for the SSDI disability benefits you need.
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help With Your SSDI Claim Today
The team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can handle the claims process if your application for SSDI benefits has been denied. We can also assist if your spouse is eligible to draw off your benefits.
Let us help you secure the financial support that you deserve. Call our firm today for your free case consultation.