Ask Larry

Don't I Get An Extra Amount For Caring For Disabled Children?

I was married 32 years. I have two disabled sons, one is 16 and one is 27. I am unable to find anyone at SS that can answer my questions. I know my ex has paid the max. social security for at least 32 years,and easily 9 out of the last 10 years, Five years ago, he had a statement, that showed he would get something over 2400 a month SS. He is taking early retirement at age 62, and in violation of a court order that he work till age 65. I am unable to find out what the boys and I would receive in SS, to know how hard I have to fight this. His income the last 2 years, has been approximately $160,000 a year.

The woman processing my paperwork said my SS would come out of the Family Amount, but I am divorced, and have been for over 6 years. Don't I get an extra amount for caring for disabled children? How does that extra work? Wouldn't that additional amount come from the Family Maximum, but my base amount would be separate? I cannot claim on my own record, as my unpaid job has been to care for these boys. I did talk to Protection and Advocacy and they said my older son would be considered to be on SSSI, even though he might receive a larger amount of SS off his father's record. He said he would also remain on Medicaid, and wouldn't have a patient liability. He called this a "Pass thru," and said it was a protection for those that went onto SSSI as adults.Thanks for any help. I have found SS to be very difficult to work with, they don't listen, don't answer questions.


You don't mention your age, but couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits until you are at least age 62 ( The only difference between regular divorced spousal benefits and child in care divorced spousal benefits is that your benefits would not be reduced for age if you have a qualified child in care.

I'll give you an example to explain how your case may work out. Remember, though, that I don't have enough information to be able to tell you whether or not you or your children would actually qualify for benefits.

Say that your ex's full retirement age rate (PIA) is $2400 and his family maximum benefit (FMB) is $4200. After subtracting your ex's PIA from the FMB, $1800 would then be available for family members. Whereas children normally would each qualify for 50% of the worker's PIA (i.e. $1200 in this example), if both of your children qualify for child's benefits they would each get $900 in this example, or an even split of the $1800 available.

Divorced spousal benefits are paid without regard to the FMB, though, so if you are at least age 62 and qualify as having a child in care then you could be paid $1200 in the above example. Furthermore, provided that you qualify as having a child in care for benefit purposes and are at least age 62 you could potentially file for divorced spousal benefits while allowing your own Social Security retirement rate to grow until age 70, assuming that you have enough work credits to be eligible for retirement benefits.

If either or both of your children are receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) payments then those payments would basically be offset dollar for dollar by the amount of their Social Security child's benefits. I'm not Medicaid expert, though, so I can't tell you how becoming entitled to Social Security child's benefits might affect your children's Medicaid eligibility.

Best, Jerry

Apr 29 2018 - 2:00pm
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