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Family Members Eligible For Benefits Because Of Your Work History


The following family members may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Retirement Income (SSR) benefits because of a worker's work history:

Spouse and ex-Spouse

  • When a worker collects disability benefits, his/her spouse can collect a spouse's benefits if:
    • She or he is age 62 or over or
    • She or he is caring for a child of the worker's who is under age 16 or if the child is disabled and also receiving Social Security Checks. The assets and income of the spouse don't matter.
  • The total benefit for the family is subject to a maximum which is determined by a formula.
  • A spouse who becomes disabled must only look to his or her own eligibility to determine whether he or she receives SSDI.
  • To learn more, click here.

Widow or Widower

  • A worker's disabled widow or widower age 50 or older is covered, provided that the widow/er's disability starts while the worker is alive or within seven years after the worker's death.
  • If a widow or widower caring for a worker's children receives Social Security checks, s/he is eligible if s/he becomes disabled before those payments end or within seven years after they end.
  • For information, click here.


  • If the worker is disabled, an unmarried son or daughter, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild, is entitled to benefits if the child is under age 18 or under age 19 if in high school full time.
  • A disabled worker's unmarried son or daughter, age 18 or older, is covered if s/he has a disability that started before age 22. The disability the child has must meet the adult definition of disability. Children can also be eligible for SSDI in their own right if they worked.
  • Amount of Benefit: Each qualified child may receive a monthly payment up to one-half of the disabled worker's full retirement benefit amount, subject to a limit to the amount that can be paid to the family as a whole. The amount of the limit depends on the amount of the worker's benefit and the number of family members who also qualify on the worker's record. The total varies, but it is generally equal to about 150 to 180 percent of the worker's retirement benefit.
  • For more information, click here


A parent of a deceased insured person is entitled to survivors benefits if:

  • The insured person was fully insured at the time of death; and
  • The parent files an application for survivors benefits; and
  • The parent has reached age 62; and
  • The parent is not entitled to a retirement insurance benefit that is equal to or larger than the amount of the unadjusted survivors benefit after any increase to the minimum benefit ; and
  • The parent was receiving at least one-half support from the insured person; and
  • Evidence that the support requirement was met has been filed with the Social Security Administration within the appropriate time limit; and
  • The parent has not remarried since the insured person's death; and
  • One of the following conditions is met:
    • The parent claimant is a natural parent and would be eligible under the law of the state of the worker's domicile to share in the intestate personal property of the worker as the worker's parent father or mother, as the case may be; or
    • The parent claimant had legally adopted the insured person before the insured person he or she attained age 16; or
    • The person claiming benefits claimant became the deceased's insured person's stepparent by a marriage entered into before the deceased had attained age 16

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