Social Security Disability – Child and Dependent Benefits


Dependents benefits may be available to certain family members of a disabled individual when he or she is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Even with the award of SSDI benefits, the income of the family is often seriously reduced. Thus, when additional income benefits are available to those who are financially dependent upon the disabled individual, these can be an important part of the disabled person’s ability to support and provide for his family.

Initial Requirement of Dependent Claim:

The disabled individual must be eligible to receive benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance. Eligible means that the disabled individual meets the requirements for SSDI coverage and is awarded disability benefits. No dependent benefits can be paid unless the covered individual is granted benefits. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program does not provide for payment of dependent benefits.

Relationship to Disabled Individual:

A dependent must be a person who relies upon the disabled individual for financial support. Normally, this will be determined by the relationship of the dependent to the disabled individual. These relationships and the principle requirements for eligibility for each include:

1. Children. The definition of children includes biological child, adopted child and dependent stepchildren under the age of 18 years of age. The child must be unmarried. If still a student in secondary school (not college), benefits may continue until graduation or until two months after his/her 19 th birthday.

2. Disabled Children. If a dependent child is disabled and that disability began before his/her 22 nd birthday, then benefits may be available.

3. Grandchildren. A grandchild may receive income benefits if his/her parents are deceased, received at least one-half of his/her support from the disabled individual in the year prior to the disabled person becoming disabled, and began living in the home of the grandparent prior to becoming 18 years of age.

4. Spouse. A spouse that is over 62 years of age or who is caring for a dependent child under the age of 16 years of age is eligible to receive SSDI dependent’s benefits.

5. Parents. If you were the parent of an insured worker who died and you were dependent upon that child for at least one-half of your support during the two years prior to his/her death, then benefits may be available. You must be over 62 years of age, not remarried since your child’s death and your Social Security benefits must be less than the benefits available through your deceased child’s Social Security entitlement.

(NOTE: ExSpouse. An unmarried ex-spouse may be entitled to receive benefits based on the eligibility for SSID of the disabled former spouse. You must have been married to the disabled spouse for at least 10 years. The ex-spouse must be over 62 years of age. His/her own Social Security benefits are less than those of the qualifying disabled ex-spouse. (Notes: This is technically not based on dependency on the disabled ex-spouse but on the former marital status. The marital status disabled ex-spouse does not matter. Receipt of benefits by the ex-spouse does not affect the amount of benefits paid to the disabled individual.)

Amount of Benefits:

Each dependent may be eligible to receive up to 50% of the amount of the income benefits payable to the qualified disabled individual. However, there is a maximum amount that Social Security will pay to the family as a whole. The maximum amount payable to all of the family is 150% to 180% of the amount due to the disabled individual. If the number of dependents would cause the total benefit amount to exceed this range, then the disabled individual still will receive 100% of his/her benefits but the benefits payable to the remaining dependents will be reduced proportionally so that the maximum payment to the whole family is not exceeded.

When to File Claim for Dependent Benefits:

The claim for dependent benefits should be made as a part of the filing for Social Security Disability Benefits by the disabled individual. It is not a separate claim. It is simply a matter of listing the names, ages and relationship of the dependents on the application for benefits. If one or more dependents is not listed on the application, then the Social Security Administration should be notified in writing (filed in the claim file) of the omission as soon as possible. (Note: If the dependent is omitted (sometimes intentionally), the omitted dependent can or should make a claim. Talk with SSA office or an attorney about this.)


An experienced attorney familiar with Social Security disability law can help you protect your rights and can help you get the benefits you deserve. We have the knowledge, experience and skill to assist you in dealing with the process of obtaining help from these Social Security benefits programs. We represent disabled individuals in SSA Disability claims throughout North Georgia including Cobb County, Cherokee County, Bartow County, Floyd County, Paulding County, Fulton County and Forsyth County. Contact us today to discuss your situation and the benefits you are be entitled to receive.

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