social security disability information

Social Security Disability Information based on Frequently Asked Questions

As a local attorney with an office located in the western suburbs I get lots of questions from people that call or just walk in. Overtime you start to see some of the same questions come up again and again. In an effort to help you better understand this process, we’ve organized some social security disability information based on frequently asked questions from our clients and visitors.

A few questions that have come up lately are:

° Can my ex-spouse really receive benefits from my Social Security disability check, even if I have re-married?

The short answer is YES, but it depends…

° A few rules and restrictions apply…

The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years; the ex-spouse must be at least 62 years old; they must be un- married, and they cannot be otherwise entitled to benefits equal to or greater than the ex-spouse.

Social Security will find that the ex-spouse is not entitled to draw a monthly benefit from the ex-spouses Social Security disability if that ex-spouse is entitled to claim Social Security benefits either on their own or someone else’s Social Security record or entitled to a pension from the government or for an employer who did not pay into Social Security.

All in all, this is a reasonable approach to protecting an ex-spouse of advanced age who may not have any other source of significant income.

° If I apply for and get approved for SSDI, will my children receive any benefits?

Yes, if they are under 18; or 18-19 and full-time high school students or if they are disabled adult children (18 or over with a disability that started before they turn the age 22).

° What if I have adopted a child or they are my step child?

Yes, the same rules apply.

° How much can my children receive?

Qualifying children can receive the benefit equal to 1/2 of your disability insurance benefit… Subject to the “family maximum. “

° What is the Family maximum?

In short, SSA will pay you and your qualifying family members (spouse, divorced spouse, children, disabled children and disabled adult children) benefits, but only up to a point, AKA the family maximum. Basically, this means that SSA caps the total amount of money that a family can receive based upon a single disabled persons primary insurance amount (PIA). Under current law, the family maximum tops out at 150% to 180% of that PIA.

° What is a PIA?

The PIA represents the monthly benefit to which a disabled (or retired) individual is entitled (how much you get a month). This amount is derived from your monthly earnings record and specifically looks at your earnings over time. Because Social Security benefits were created to help the most needy or vulnerable SSA has adopted a formula which they apply to your earnings record that treats low wage workers more favorably. Specifically, there are three “breakpoints” – earnings from $0 to $895; earnings from $895 to $5,397and earnings over $5,397. The formula treats the first $895 of earnings most generously.

These general questions are based on visitors and callers to our office. If you have specific questions as it relates to social security disability information, we encourage you to call us today.


For disability matters as it relates to multiple sclerosis read our post on the topic here.