There are many couples in West Virginia who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits based on their particular medical issues. Each case has been evaluated on its own merit with the agency issuing an approval for both applicants. However, the rules regarding payment of benefits can impact the amount they receive from the agency in certain situations. Family dynamics and age can play a role in eligibility and amount of additional benefit received for the household based on program qualification for a primary disabled beneficiary.
When both spouses are disabled
SSDI claims are evaluated individually by the Social Security Administration when both spouses are disabled. Typically, one spouse will be awarded before the other, but there are rare situations where both are applying at the same time. Qualifying for the SSDI program is based on work history and the number of accrued tax credits during the applicant’s working career, and they do not impact other claims.
How age and family structure can matter
The SSA also makes allowances for qualified disabled individual’s spouses based on age and number of dependents in the family. Spouses of disabled beneficiaries who are age 62 or older can receive up to 50% of the disabled partner’s SSDI benefit amount regardless of health status. Couples that have a qualifying dependent in the home who is under age 16 can also be eligible for an additional benefit amount.
It is important to note that not all disability applicants can qualify for the Social Security Disability Insurance program due to insufficient tax credits through their work career. SSDI recipients must have earned 20 tax credits in the immediate 10 years prior to filing in order to qualify. Those who qualify at a young age are evaluated on a pro-rated scale, and many times they do have dependent children under age 16. Those applicants who do not qualify may be allowed Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI, which is a means tested benefit program. When both spouses are eligible for SSI, the benefit amount is reduced significantly even for those over age 62.