Can My Disabled Child Collect If I Don't Take My Retirement Benefit Early?

Jun 24 2016 - 9:00am

Dear Larry,

I am about to apply for SSDI for my adult disabled daughter on my work record (disabled before age 22 and only 7 quarters of her own Soc Sec credits). I am 64 and have not filed for Soc Sec. I am currently planning to defer filing for Soc Sec till age 70 (based on your book and new rules that preclude me from filing and suspending). Do in need to be receiving Soc Sec before my daughter can receive SSDI on my earnings record, or can I file now before filing for my own Soc Sec?
P.S. Great book... Easy to read and comprehend. Many thanks. Vic

Dear Vic,

I'm terribly angry (with Congress and the President) for having to have to tell you this, but the answer is yes. Because you weren't able to file and suspend in time, you need to be receiving your retirement benefit, for your child to receive a disabled child benefit. I'm presuming, by the way, that your child never earned too much after becoming disabled -- i.e., more than about $1,000 a month, which can, itself, disqualify her forever from collecting anything on your work record.

If you are married and your spouse is not working or working but not earning too much (so the Earnings Test won't hit too hard), your spouse can collect a child-in-care spousal benefit while your child is collecting a disabled child benefit. The two benefits together will be subject to the maximum family benefit provision. Collecting these two benefits may be worth the cost of your taking your retirement benefit now or at some point before 70 and, as a result, your receiving permanently lower Social Security benefits.

Our software will figure out whether this is, in fact, the case. I.e., it will compute your optimal date of filing for retirement benefits as well as benefits for your child and, potentially, your wife. You can also consider run other strategies in the software.

All best and sorry to be delivering this bad news,