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Protecting The Disabled And Injured Since 1974

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Protecting The Disabled And Injured Since 1974

Can family members qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Social Security Disability |

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits provides vital financial support to someone who has a disability and cannot work. Their family members may also qualify for benefits.


Workers are eligible for Social Security Disability if they worked and paid Social Security taxes on their wages but became disabled before they were 62. Social Security monthly benefits depend on work and earning history.

For SSDI eligibility, a worker must have a condition that keeps them from working and meets the legal definition of a disability. This condition has to last at least 12 months or cause the person’s death.

Family members

If a person qualifies for SSDI benefits, their family members may also receive benefits. Eligible family members may include:

  • A spouse who is at least 62.
  • A spouse regardless of age who is caring for a child who has a disability or is under 16.
  • A child who is under 18 or younger than 19 and attending high school. This includes adopted children and possibly stepchildren and grandchildren.
  • An unmarried child who is at least 18 and has a qualifying disability that began before they were 22.

Former spouses of SSDI recipients may also receive benefits if that spouse is at least 62, and currently unmarried and the couple was married at least 10 years. These benefits do reduce the benefits that the SSDI recipient receives.


Each family member of a SSDI recipient may be eligible for a monthly benefit up to as much as 50 percent of the recipient’s benefit. The average monthly SSDI benefit was $1,282.37 in Oct. 2021.

This benefit may be different if a SSDI recipient has more than one family member who may qualify for benefits because there is a cap on the total SSDI benefits that families can receive. This cap is usually 150 percent of the disabled workers’ monthly SSDI benefit. It may go up to 180 percent in certain circumstances.

When the family’s total SSDI benefits are above the maximum percentage, each family member’s payment is reduced to keep the total below the cap. But the disabled parent’s benefit will not be lowered, and this will reduce each family member’s payment below 50 percent of the disabled parent’s benefit.

If a disabled parent dies while receiving SSDI, their child may receive up to 75 percent of that person’s basic Social Security benefit up to the family maximum. A child with a disability and an adult child who became disabled before they were 22 may also qualify for their own SSDI benefits.

The SSDI process can be complicated. Attorneys may assist workers undergoing the eligibility and hearing process.