Is My Child Eligible For Benefits On My Account?

Jun 24 2016 - 5:30pm

My wife and I are both 78, and have been receiving retirement benefits since we became 65.
We have a disabled daughter who receives SSI. We didn't take her disability into account when we started taking benefits.
My wife takes a salary of about $130,000 from her business.
At our age, is it likely that we could make any changes that would increase our benefits, or our daughter's?
Would your program figure that out for us?


Assuming that your wife is paying Social Security taxes on her salary, she should be seeing an increase in her benefit amount each year. Benefit amounts are based on the best 35 years of the worker's inflation adjusted earnings, and $130,000 would definitely among those. Social Security periodically does automatic recomputations of benefits to account for new earnings, but you can speed up the process by taking proof of earnings (i.e. W-2 form(s) for wages, Schedule(s) SE for self-employment) to a Social Security office and requesting a manual recomputation. That can also be accomplished by mail.

Disabled children can qualify for benefits on a parent's record at any age, provided that they became disabled prior to age 22, and did not have significant earnings after age 22. If that's the case with your daughter, she should apply for disabled adult child's benefits on either your or your wife's accounts, whichever is higher. She could be eligible for a monthly benefit equal to 50% of the higher parent's full retirement age benefit (PIA), and it would have no adverse effect on you or your wife's benefits. However, if her disabled child's benefit is higher than her SSI benefit, the latter benefit will terminate. If it's less than the SSI, there would be a roughly dollar for dollar offset.

Best, Jerry