Family members of a disabled worker could qualify for benefits

Residents of Indiana who receive Social Security disability benefits might also have family members who are entitled to receive a portion of those benefits. Eligible family members could include children, a spouse or an ex-spouse as well as other dependents in certain age groups.

Social Security disability benefits are awarded to people who are unable to work due to a disability and who meet other eligibility requirements. Family members might each be eligible for a benefit that is equal to up to 50% of the disabled worker's benefit. There is a family limit on total benefits that is usually from 150 to 180% of the disabled worker's benefit amount. The amounts for each family member will be reduced if necessary to keep the family limit below the maximum amount.

Payments to an ex-spouse do not count toward the family limit. An ex-spouse may be eligible for benefits if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and the ex-spouse is at least 62 years old, is unmarried and is not eligible for a higher benefit of his or her own.

Additionally, a current spouse is only eligible for a benefit if he or she is 62 years of age or caring for a child of the disabled worker, and the child must be under the age of 16 or disabled. If the spouse is eligible for a Social Security benefit, he or she will receive whichever of the two benefits is higher, but they will not be combined.

Children who could be eligible for a benefit include biological, adopted and stepchildren as well as grandchildren if they are dependents. A child must be under 18 and unmarried or under 19 and a high school student. A child over the age of 18 could qualify if he or she has a disability that began prior to the age of 22.

Social Security disability benefits qualification is based on disability and work history. Some disabled people might not qualify for disability benefits because they did not work long enough and pay enough into the Social Security system. For those people, Supplemental Social Security income, or SSI, may be available. Indianapolis, Indiana, attorneys handling Social Security disability may help clients understand what benefits might be available.

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