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Certain family members of disabled Tennessee workers may be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits based on the workers’ SSDI record and these additional benefits allow families to stay afloat financially. Payments received by disabled workers are never reduced when family members claim dependents’ benefits, but auxiliary payments are typically counted toward the maximum family benefit. Family benefits may be available to the minor children and spouses of disabled workers. Divorced spouses who are unmarried and over the age of 62 may also qualify for benefits based on the disabled person’s SSDI benefits.

Eligibility For Family Benefits

Only some family members of disabled workers may be eligible for dependents’ benefits based on the work records of those who receive SSDI. Spouses of any age who are taking care of the worker’s minor or disabled children are eligible. Spouses who are age 62 and older also qualify. Ex-spouses may receive benefits if they were married for 10 or more years, are not currently married, and are not eligible for higher amounts based on their own work records. Biological and adopted children, and stepchildren of the disabled workers who are younger than age 18 or up to age 19 and in grades 12 or lower are eligible for benefits. Parents of disabled workers who have died are eligible for benefits if they are ages 62 and older and are financially dependent on the workers.

Maximum Family Benefits

The Social Security Administration places a cap on the amount of family benefits that can be paid. Each eligible person may receive up to 50 percent of the amount of the disabled worker’s benefit. If there are several eligible family members, the maximum amount that can be paid to the family members will fall somewhere between 150 and 180 percent of the disabled worker’s benefits amount. The maximum family benefit is calculated by taking the smaller of either 85 percent of the disabled worker’s indexed average monthly benefits amount or 150 percent of the worker’s monthly benefits amount.

The availability of family benefits can offer a financial safety net to family members of people who are disabled. Since the disabled worker’s payments are not impacted by dependent’s payments, eligible family members are encouraged to apply.