SSDI Dependent Benefits: Top Things to Know

Your quick guide to SSDI dependent benefits. Learn about Social Security dependent benefits, what family members qualify, and how to apply.

Disabled Man and Family

If you are disabled or unable to work, it affects your whole family. Fortunately, spouses and dependent children of people receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) may also receive monthly benefits.

Keep reading to discover how SSDI dependent benefits can help your family and give you financial relief.

What Are SSDI Dependent Benefits?

SSDI dependent benefits are monthly Social Security benefits that eligible family members receive if you are disabled or unable to work.

Each eligible family member may receive a monthly benefit of up to 50% of your disability benefit amount. The maximum amount your family can receive is generally 150% to 180% of your disability benefit. 

Who Qualifies for SSDI Dependent Benefits?

When you start receiving SSDI benefits, certain family members may qualify for benefits based on your work, including your:

  • Spouse.
  • Divorced spouse.
  • Children, stepchildren, and grandchildren.
  • Adult child if disabled before age 22.

SSDI Benefits for Spouses

When you qualify for SSDI benefits, your spouse may be eligible to receive benefits.

To qualify for benefits on your record, your spouse must be:

  • Age 62 or older (unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit amount).
  • Any age if they care for your child. However, the child must be under age 16 or disabled before age 22 and entitled to benefits.

Note: You or your spouse may get penalized for collecting retirement benefits before full retirement age or for working while receiving benefits. Also, if your spouse qualifies for a higher benefit amount, the SSA will combine the two benefits to equal the higher amount.

SSDI Benefits for Divorced Spouse

If you are divorced, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record, even if you remarried.

The benefits amount payable to your divorced spouse does not affect the benefits you or your current spouse may receive.

To qualify for benefits on your record, your ex-spouse must:

  • Have been married to you for at least 10 years.
  • Be at least 62 years old.
  • Be unmarried.
  • Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record or someone else’s.

Note: If your ex-spouse receives a pension from work not covered by Social Security, their Social Security benefit may affect your benefits.

SSDI Benefits for Children

When you qualify for SSDI benefits, your children may also receive benefits on your record. 

Eligible children include your biological, adopted, or stepchild. In some situations, dependent grandchildren may also qualify.

To qualify for benefits on your record, the child must be:

  • Unmarried.
  • Under age 18.
  • 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12).
  • Disabled before age 22.

Note: Your child will stop receiving benefits at age 18 unless they are disabled. However, benefits will continue if your child is a full-time student or until the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.

Learn more about benefits for a disabled child.

SSDI Benefits for Adult Children

Some adult children of SSDI beneficiaries also qualify for benefits. 

To qualify for benefits on your record, the adult child must:

  • Be over age 18.
  • Be unmarried.
  • Have a disability that began before age 22.
  • Meet the SSDI definition of disability for adults.
  • Have a parent currently receiving Social Security benefits or was insured for benefits at the time of their death.
  • Be a full-time student at a secondary school and is under age 19.

Learn more about the adult child benefits guidelines.

SSDI Benefits for Grandchildren

Social Security will pay benefits to grandchildren if there is no living parent.

To qualify for benefits, a grandchild must:

  • Have deceased or disabled parents.
  • Live with the grandparents before turning age 18.
  • Have a grandparent, adoptive parent, or stepparent receiving Social Security benefits.
  • Have received at least half of their financial support in the year before their grandparent was eligible for SSDI benefits.

Learn more about benefits for grandchildren.

At What Age Does SSDI Stop for Dependents?

There are different age cut-off dates for each dependent receiving SSDI benefits. View the cut-off ages in the chart below:

DependantCut-Off AgeExceptions
Spouse62Caring for a child under 16 or an adult disabled child
Divorced Spouse62Remain unmarried and not eligible for equal or higher benefits
Minor Children18Age 19 if a full-time student (no higher than grade 12)
Adult Children22Age 22 if disabled
Grandchildren18Age 19 if a full-time student (no higher than grade 12)

What Is the Family Maximum for SSDI?

The family maximum for SSDI is 150% to 180% of your total disability benefit. 

However, the total varies depending on your benefit amount and the number of qualifying family members on your record. 

Can a Child Get SSDI If the Parent Is Disabled?

Yes, a biological, adopted, or stepchild under age 18 can get SSDI if a parent is disabled. 

What Happens to My SSDI When My Child Turns 18?

When your child turns age 18, their benefits will stop. There will be no change to the parent’s SSDI benefits.

However, a child over the age 18 may continue to receive benefits if:

  • They are under age 19 and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12).
  • They became disabled before age 22.

After that, your child can apply for SSDI as an independent adult.

Also Read: How SSA Grid Rules Can Help Win Your Case

How to Apply for SSDI Dependent Benefits?

You can apply for SSDI dependent benefits by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting your local Social Security office.

If your child is an eligible disabled adult, you can apply online

You may need to prepare these documents in advance:

  • Your child’s birth certificate or adoption papers
  • A marriage certificate
  • Social Security numbers

Also Read: How To Apply for Disability Benefits in 3 Easy Steps

Call Our Social Security Disability Attorneys to Discuss Your Family’s Benefits

Are you disabled or unable to work and facing a financial burden? 

Our trusted team of attorneys specializes in Social Security disability claims. Find out how we can help your family get SSDI benefits. Contact Evens Disability or call (855) 503-0101.

SSDI Dependent Benefits FAQ

Frequently asked questions about SSDI dependent benefits.

How Much Do Dependents Get for SSDI?

The maximum amount a dependent can get for SSDI is 50 percent of the award granted to the SSDI recipient. 

Does SSDI Give Back Pay for Dependents?

If you have a spouse or dependent children entitled to benefits based on your SSDI claim, they will also receive back pay for your SSDI award. 

Can You Claim Someone on SSDI as a Dependent?

Yes, you can claim a biological, adopted, stepchild, or grandchild as a dependent. 

Will My SSDI Increase When My Child Turns 18?

No, they will not. Your SSDI benefits will remain the same.

What Are Student Benefits for Social Security?

Student benefits are monthly Social Security benefits for eligible students under age 19.

Children of retired, deceased, or disabled SSDI beneficiaries are entitled to benefits until they reach age 19 or complete grade 12, whichever occurs first.

Note: The SSA will not pay benefits to college students, only students taking courses at grade 12 or below.

Learn more about student benefits.