California residents may not be aware that a person can receive Social Security Disability benefits based on their spouse's or ex-spouse's work history. When are these benefits payable to the spouse?
According to the Social Security Administration, these SSD benefits can be payable to spouses if the receiving spouse is 62 years of age or older, unless they are receiving SSD benefits based on their own record. In order to qualify for these, the couple must have been married for a year or longer. It is important to keep in mind though that the spouse benefit amount will be permanently impacted by a percentage depending on the amount of time left until they hit the full-retirement age.
If the spouse is taking care of minor children, then age is not a factor in receiving SSD benefits. That means if the spouse claiming spousal benefits is taking care of the working spouse's children under the age of 16, then the spouse is eligible to receive SSD benefits immediately-they don't have to wait for the first anniversary of their marriage. The benefits would continue until the children turn 16 years of age, after which the children would continue to receive SSD benefits but the spouse's would stop until they turn 62.
It may also be possible to receive SSD benefits based on the spouse's work history if the couple has been divorced after remaining married for at least 10 years, but not if the spouse has gotten married in the interim. Additionally, if the spouse would also be eligible to receive SSD benefits based on their own work credits, then the SSA would fulfill those first. But if the amount receivable would be higher on the other person's history, then the SSA would pay out a combination of benefits that would equal the higher amount.
Understanding eligibility for SSD benefits can be complicated and working out not only your own eligibility but also your spouse's dependency can be even more overwhelming. Having someone by your side explaining the federal requirements and necessary evidence can be very helpful.