If your husband or wife is disabled, you may be entitled to benefits

If your spouse is getting Social Security disability benefits, you may also be entitled to receive benefits from Social Security. These benefits are called “auxiliary benefits.”

It is important to remember that auxiliary benefits are only available if the disabled spouse (disabled husband or disabled wife) is receiving Disability Insurance benefits. There are no auxiliary benefits when the disable spouse is receiving Social Security Title 16 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Am I entitled to Social Security auxiliary benefits?

In a nutshell, spouses have to be either:

1) 62 or older, or

2) have a child in their care who is either

a) under the age of 16, or

b) disabled.

Let’s look at the regulations. You are entitled to benefits as the wife or husband of an insured person who is entitled to old-age or disability benefits if you meet the criteria listing in 20 CFR 404.330:

(a) You are the insured’s wife or husband based upon a relationship described in §§404.345 through 404.346 and one of the following conditions is met:

(1) Your relationship to the insured as a wife or husband has lasted at least 1 year. (You will be considered to meet the 1-year duration requirement throughout the month in which the first anniversary of the marriage occurs.)

(2) You and the insured are the natural parents of a child; or

(3) In the month before you married the insured you were entitled to, or if you had applied and been old enough you could have been entitled to, any of these benefits or payments: Wife’s, husband’s, widow’s, widower’s, or parent’s benefits; disabled child’s benefits; or annuity payments under the Railroad Retirement Act for widows, widowers, parents, or children 18 years old or older;

(b) You apply;

(c) You are age 62 or older throughout a month and you meet all other conditions of entitlement, or you are the insured’s wife or husband and have in your care (as defined in §§404.348 through 404.349), throughout a month in which all other conditions of entitlement are met, a child who is entitled to child’s benefits on the insured’s earnings record and the child is either under age 16 or disabled; and

(d) You are not entitled to an old-age or disability benefit based upon a primary insurance amount that is equal to or larger than the full wife’s or husband’s benefit.

I know, it is all very legalistic.  Fortunately, Social Security has a much better summary in the “What Every Woman Should Know” FAQ.

If you have not worked or do not have enough Social Security credits and you are married, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits as a result of your husband’s work. You and your children (younger than age 18 or younger than age 19 if still in secondary school or disabled before age 22) have Social Security protection through your husband’s work. When he retires, or if he becomes disabled, you could be eligible for benefits as early as age 62. If you are caring for your child who is younger than age 16 or disabled and entitled to benefits, you could receive benefits at any age.

Spouses of a disabled individual Auxiliary benefits are normally processed automatically along with the spouse’s disability benefits.  But, if for some reason they were not, it may be a good idea to contact Social Security to see if you qualify.

  • Brady

    Thanks for the quality articles you post on your blog about this issue!! I admire your articles and informative information you share. Keep up the good work

  • Brady

    Thanks for the quality articles you post on your blog about this issue!! I admire your articles and informative information you share. Keep up the good work

  • jjackieo

    i am disabled ,, can my husband and step children get ssi ? i am only 46

  • Shemekajones89

    My kids father is disabled and is currently receiving a disability check each month. My kids aren’t receiving anything. I thought it was because he didn’t put in any work or not enough so I thought if I take out child support my kids would be taken care of. Now child support is discontinuing my case because he’s getting a type of disability that they can’t touch. I plan on getting in touch with my local social security office or hire a lawyer. Any suggestions????

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      To the best of my knowledge child support cannot garnish SSI benefits: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/05/can-you-garnish-social-security-disability-benefits-for-child-support/

      SSI are also the benefits which do not provide auxiliary benefits for kids. 

      So if a disabled parent gets SSI, there is no child support garnishment and no benefits for the kids from Social Security. Again, that’s as far I know believe.

      But, of course, check with the SSA office to see if your kids may be entitled to something.

  • ramon ulloa

    I am a single mom I was never married to the father of my daughter who is now 16 and now that college is getting closer she needs to buy special materials for her future studies that I cannot afford and just recently her father has been incarcerated and was collecting social security disability. Q: can she claim auxiliary benefits?

  • Darcie

    My husband is receiving disability benefits and is in jail now, his benefits stopped this month my child still got his $ but can I draw from my husbands $ because his $ was our family income

  • stacyjay

    My mom, 84, has vascular dementia as a result of 2 strokes she had in Nov. 2014. Medicare for nursing home is running out and we will need help with home care. Dad is 88 and okay. Can she get social security disability help though she was not employed outside the home? (Major volunteer work, though.). Dad worked into his 70s. Thanks for any advice.

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  • Heather Collins

    My daughter’s father was reviving disability before he became incarcerated…. Can she collect his disability since he is incarcerated?