When you become disabled and incapable of working, the loss of income can be disastrous, especially if you have dependent children. Fortunately, for individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, your children may also qualify for monthly benefits. In 2020, Social Security Administration paid almost $2.8 billion in monthly benefits to four million qualifying children because their parents are retired, disabled, or deceased. These benefits can mean the difference between financial stability and destitution.
In addition to experiencing a qualifying disability, you must also have worked a certain amount of time before you can be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you do not have the work history to qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Unfortunately, only the SSDI program provides benefits for qualifying dependent children, but if you have children who are also disabled, they may be able to qualify for their own SSI benefits.
A child may qualify for SSDI benefits on your work record if they are unmarried and younger than 18-years-old. If they are unmarried but 18-years-old or older, they can still receive benefits if they are enrolled full-time as a student in secondary school and are under 19-years-old or they are disabled, and the disability occurred before their 22nd birthday.
Children who may qualify for SSDI benefits under your work history include adopted children, biological children, or dependent stepchildren. In certain circumstances, your grandchildren or step-grandchildren may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits if: 1) you provide regular support; 2) their biological parents are disabled or deceased; 3) you provide at least half of their financial support; and 4) they have lived with you for twelve months before they became eligible for SSDI benefits.
Your monthly SSDI check amount is based on how much money you paid into Social Security while you were able to work. The amount that your dependent children are entitled to is a percentage of the amount that you receive each month. As a general rule, your child can receive up to 50% of your total SSDI benefits. But one family is limited by a maximum amount each family member can receive. Usually, the limit is between 150% and 180% of your benefit award. If the family is entitled to more than that, each person’s benefit amount (not including yours) will be lowered proportionally until the total amount falls within that range.