Most people in New Jersey who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits consider their struggle ended when they receive a favorable decision from the Social Security Administration approving their application. However, the awarding of SSD benefits means that a spouse or child of the recipient may be eligible for benefits based upon the original recipient’s work and medical record. Obtaining SSD benefits for family members can significantly increase the total amount of monthly payments received by the disabled person and his or her family.
A spouse may receive SSDI benefits if he or she is over 62 years of age or if the spouse is caring for a child who is younger than 16. A spouse may also be eligible for SSDI benefits if he or she is caring for a child with disabilities, regardless of the child’s age. Children of an SSDI benefits recipient, including children adopted by the recipient, are eligible for benefits until they reach age 18 and are not married.
The total amount of SSD benefits paid to a recipient’s family is limited by the amount of benefits paid to the recipient. The limit may vary from year to year and state to state, but the prevailing limit on benefits payable to a recipient’s family is between 150-180% of the benefits paid to the recipient. The key to obtaining SSD benefits for family members is to apply for their benefits at the same time as the main SSD application is filed.
The SSDI application process can be complex and frustrating, and the assistance of an experienced attorney can significantly ease the process. Also, if an application should be refused, a knowledgeable lawyer can expedite the appeal process.