Ask Larry

Can A Disabled Adult Child Draw Benefits On One Parent's Record First, And Another Parent's Record Later?

Larry, can a disabled adult child start collecting a SSDI benefit based on his 58 year old mother's $500 SSDI benefit, then switch to a higher benefit when his 62 year old father starts collecting his own SS retirement benefit?


The answer is a qualified yes, however, a special family maximum formula is used to calculate benefits available to family members eligible on disability accounts. If the disabled parent has a very limited earnings history, this special formula can result in no monthly benefits being payable to other eligible family members.

If the 58 year old mother's own benefit amount is only $500, there would very likely be no monthly benefits available to pay other eligible family members under the formula. Thus, her disabled child could be technically entitled on her account which could eventually lead to Medicare entitlement after 2 years, but no cash benefits would be paid.

The same child could later become entitled to benefits on another parent's record. If that parent is entitled to retirement benefits, the special family maximum formula would not apply and the disabled child could then receive monthly benefits. However, if the parent hasn't yet reached full retirement age (FRA), payment of benefits to both the parent and their disabled child may be limited by Social Security's earnings test (

Best, Jerry

Sep 2 2016 - 12:00pm
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