How Do I Meet the Earnings Requirement for Disability Benefits?

Losing your ability to work is a stressful experience for anyone, but it’s especially hard if you have family members who depend on the income you get from working. When you’re looking into disability benefits as a way to make ends meet, you may be wondering how your family may benefit as well.

Disability benefits and your family

The good news is that some members of your family may also receive benefits, depending on the program that’s issuing your benefits.

If you receive SSDI, dependent children, including stepchildren are eligible to receive benefits. Each child is eligible to receive up to 50% of your total SSDI payment, up to a maximum of 150% to 180% for the entire family. This number includes the disabled person.

If you have grandchildren and you’ve raised them as your children, they may also be eligible to receive a portion of your benefits. Grandchildren whose parents are deceased or disabled, who receive at least half of their support from you, and have lived with you for at least twelve months, may be counted as children for purposes of receiving SSDI benefits.

Eligible children and grandchildren typically remain eligible until they either marry or turn 18. If your child becomes disabled before the age of 22, their benefits will continue indefinitely, although the payment amount may be greater if they earn work credits.

To apply for your dependent children and grandchildren to receive benefits, you’ll need their Social Security numbers and birth certificates. Additional information or paperwork may be needed, and your caseworker will let you know if this is the case.

What about SSI?

The situation is much less accommodating for recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you receive SSI, your family will not receive additional benefits. In fact, you may find that your total payment is reduced if members of your family are providing some of your needs, like food and shelter.

If you have questions about your disability case and how it may impact your family, let us help you. Katherine is a very knowledgeable disability advocate, with years of experience representing people with disabilities of all kinds. We can be reached by phone, email or text message, and we offer free consultations, so reach out today!