What about dependent benefits? Certain members of a family may qualify for benefits based on a deceased, disabled or retired workers earnings. They include:
- Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older;
- Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
- Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time; and
- Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
NOTE: In some situations, a divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on the workers earnings if he or she was married to the worker for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce a workers benefit or any benefits due to the workers current spouse or children.
We always recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney before contacting SSA with dependent benefit questions.