When someone suffers a disability that prevents him or her from being able to work, the disabled person may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that when disability prevents work, the disabled person is often not the only one affected. Anyone who is financially dependent on the disabled person can suffer from the lack of household income, as well. SSDI allows dependents to qualify for auxiliary benefits, in some cases.
Those who are considered legal dependants may include the disabled person’s spouse, divorced spouse, or a child for whom the disabled person is financially responsible (including a disabled child). Any dependent children are due these auxiliary benefits, the term SSA uses to describe a percentage of the disabled parent’s SSDI benefits, regardless of household income. Spouses may qualify if they are not earning more than a specified amount per year. Under the Social Security Administration’s regulations, each family member can receive a maximum of 50 percent of the person’s disability rate, but this can be reduced due to a limit on what can be paid to a family as a whole. The total amount given to a family can add up to 150 to 180 percent of an individual person’s disability rate, with the rate per person changing depending on the number of dependent family members in order to accommodate the rate cap. In some cases, family members may also qualify to receive health benefits.
It is important to note that the amount of disability benefits the actual disabled worker receives will not be affected by family size. However, the family benefits will be determined in part by the amount of the worker’s benefits. Obtaining full benefits is incredibly important to most families, as a worker’s SSDI benefits are not the same amount that he or she was receiving while working. The cost of supporting a family is often greater than the amount the individual receives in SSDI benefits.
Federal law entitles disabled workers across the United States to Social Security benefits, but proving one’s claim and winning benefits (including family benefits) can be incredibly difficult. The Rhode Island SSDI family benefits attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush understand the financial and emotional toll that disability exacts, not only to the injured person, but to his or her entire family. For more information on how our trusted Social Security Disability law team can help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve, please call us today at 401-274-7400.