Should We File For Benefits For Our Disabled Child?

Aug 20 2017 - 7:28am

Hi. My husband is permanently disabled and has received ssdi for about 11 years, he is 53. We have one non-disabled child and one child (3 years old) who is disabled. He does not receive ssi because we have not formally applied. Is there a family maximum you can receive? So my son could not get ssi if my husband's ssdi is too high? My husband thinks that if we applied, it would reduce his amount and we'd just end up with the same amount monthly anyway. Should we not bother? Thanks.

Hi,

First I'll clarify the types of benefits to which we're referring. If your children receive benefits on your husband's record, those are Social Security child's benefits. On the other hand, SSI is the acronym for Supplemental Security Income, which is a needs based benefit for the disabled, blind and aged administered by Social Security.

If you have one child already drawing child's benefits on your husband's record, then the maximum family benefit rate is likely already being paid. So, if you filed a claim for child's benefits on behalf of your other child, he would likely then just split the amount already being paid to your other child. It would not, however, cause your husband's disability benefit rate to change. You may want to verify all of this with Social Security, though, because there are seemingly exceptions to every rule.

If your family has a relatively low income and resources, you may want to look into whether or not your disabled child could qualify for Supplemental Security Income. There is a screening tool that you can link to from Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/. And if your child does qualify for SSI, that would not count toward the family maximum benefit rate payable on your husband's record (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/dibfamilymax.html).

By the way, when your husband reaches age 62 he would have the option of filing for regular Social Security retirement benefits. The maximum family benefit rate can be higher for beneficiaries receiving retirement benefits as opposed to disability benefits, so your husband may want to check with Social Security at that time to see if filing for reduced retirement benefits could result in a higher overall benefit rate for your family. The maximization software available on this website can also handle that type of computation.

Best, Jerry