What are Spousal Benefits?


If you are married to someone who is receiving social security disability insurance benefits, you may be eligible for benefits yourself. These benefits are called “spousal benefits.” You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are at least 62 years old;
  2. You are caring for your spouse’s minor child (under 16 years old); or
  3. You are taking care of your spouse’s disabled child.

If you are eligible for spousal benefits, the amount that you would receive is up to 50% of the total benefits that your spouse receives. The child for whom you are caring is not eligible for benefits in addition to the amount that you receive.

The caveat is that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) will pay you the benefits that you have earned based on your own earnings (if any). If that amount is less than the spousal benefits that you are eligible for, the SSA will pay you the higher amount.

You may even be eligible for spousal benefits if you are divorced from your spouse receiving SSDI benefits. The criteria are:

  1. You must be at least 62 years old;
  2. You must have been married for at least 10 years;
  3. You must currently be unmarried; and
  4. If may not receive any benefits that are greater than or equal to your ex-spouse’s benefits.

A social security disability lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible for spousal benefits.