Learn how SSDI Spouse Benefits affect your Social Security disability benefits in this simple guide. Plus, find out who qualifies for spousal benefits.
It affects your whole family if you cannot work because of a disabling condition. Fortunately, when you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your spouse may also receive monthly benefits.
Keep reading to discover how Social Security’s spousal benefits can help your family.
What Are SSDI Spouse Benefits?
SSDI spousal benefits are disability benefits payable to eligible spouses of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients.
To qualify for Social Security spouse benefits, you must:
- Have been married for one continuous year to someone who receives Social Security retirement or disability payments.
- Be at least 62 years old or
- Any age if caring for a child under age 16 or with a disability.
- Not already receive a higher Social Security retirement benefit based on your work.
Also Read: SSDI Dependent Benefits: Top Things to Know
How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits Work?
If you receive disability or retirement benefits, certain family members may qualify for benefits based on your work, including your spouse or divorced spouse.
Keep reading to learn about how the different Social Security spousal benefits work.
Spousal Benefits for Social Security
When you qualify for retirement or SSDI benefits, your spouse may also be eligible to receive benefits.
The spousal payment amount can go up to half your benefits amount. However, the SSA will permanently reduce your payments if you file for spousal benefits before full retirement age.
Note: You will receive your spouse’s full benefit amount if you wait until you reach full retirement age to collect payments.
To qualify for spousal benefits on your record, your spouse must be:
- Age 62 or older.
- 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: If your spouse qualifies for a higher benefit amount, the SSA will combine the two payments to equal the higher amount.
Spousal Social Security Retirement Benefits
If you wait until you reach full retirement age, you will receive half of your spouse’s benefit amount. The earlier you file for benefits, the less you’ll get.
For example, if you claim spousal benefits before full retirement age, you may receive payments low as 32.5% of your spouse’s benefit amount.
However, the amount increases yearly until your full retirement age, which is 50% of your spouse’s full benefit.
Note: The SSA will not reduce spousal benefits if the spouse is caring for a child under 16 or a disabled child receiving SSDI benefits.
Social Security Survivors Benefits for Spouse
Widows and widowers of eligible workers are entitled to Social Security survivors benefits.
If you are working and paying into Social Security, some taxes go to survivors benefits. Your spouse could be eligible for these benefits based on your earnings.
To qualify for survivors benefits, widows or widowers must be:
- A surviving spouse of an eligible worker.
- Not be remarried.
- Age 60 or older (age 50 or older if they have a disability).
- Any age if caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or has a disability and receives benefits.
Note: The more you pay into Social Security, the higher the benefit amount will be. For example, widowers of full retirement age or older will receive 100% of the deceased worker’s benefit amount.
Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses
If you are divorced, your ex-spouse may also qualify for benefits on your record, even if you remarried.
To qualify for benefits on your record, your ex-spouse must:
- Be at least 62 years old.
- Have been married to you for at least 10 years.
- Be unmarried.
- Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record or someone else’s.
Note: The benefits amount payable to your divorced spouse will not affect your or your current spouse’s benefits.
When Can a Spouse Claim Spousal Benefits?
You can claim spousal benefits if your spouse is at least age 62. Spouses under age 62 may qualify if they care for a child under age 16 or a disabled child.
Note: The SSA may reduce benefits if you start collecting before full retirement age.
How Much Is Spousal Benefits for Social Security?
The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of the other spouse’s total monthly disability benefit amount.
However, if your spouse is eligible for benefits on their own record, the SSA will pay that amount first. Also, if the spouse’s benefit on your record is a higher amount, the SSA will combine the two benefits to equal the higher amount.
Lastly, your spouse’s Social Security benefit may be lowered if they receive a pension not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work.
How to Calculate Spousal Benefits for Social Security?
A Social Security spousal benefit is calculated as 50% of the other spouse’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).
The primary insurance amount is the Social Security benefits paid to a retiree at full retirement age.
Tip: Use the Social Security online calculator to show your spouse’s benefits percentage.
How to Apply for Spousal Benefits
If your spouse is eligible for Social Security Spousal benefits, you can apply:
- Online at the SSA website if you are within three months of age 62 or older.
- By calling toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
Note: You may need to provide documents, such as:
- Birth certificate or other proof of birth.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
- Marriage certificate.
- Final divorce decree if applying as a divorced spouse.
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for last year.
- U.S. military discharge papers if you had military service before 1968.
Evans Disability Can Help You Get Spousal Benefits. Call Us!
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 spouse get SSDI benefits.
SSDI Spouse Benefits FAQ
Frequently asked questions about Social Security Spouse benefits.
Can a Spouse Collect Social Security?
Yes, your spouse can collect Social Security benefit payments if eligible.
Your spouse may also qualify for Medicare (Government funded healthcare) at age 65, even if you are collecting Spousal Social Security.
Can Same-Sex Couples Get Spousal Benefits?
Yes, same-sex couples are entitled to the same spousal, survivor, and retirement benefits as any other married couple.
Also, a same-sex spouse must meet the same requirements as all other spouses.
Does a Spouse’s Income Affect My Disability Benefits?
No, your spouse’s income will not affect your SSDI benefits.
SSDI benefits are calculated based on your work history and the number of work credits required for your age.
What Is the Difference Between Spousal and Survivors Benefits?
The main difference between spousal and survivors benefits is the benefit amount:
- Spousal retirement benefits provide a maximum of 50% of the other spouse’s income.
- Survivors benefits are a maximum of 100% of the deceased spouse’s retirement benefit.