Unlike children of parents who received disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, children of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits’ recipients may be able to receive survivors’ benefits. Although the U.S. Social Security Administration administers both programs, the SSDI program allows some surviving family members to receive survivors’ benefits.
According to federal law, the Social Security Administration may pay SSDI benefits to dependent family members of SSDI recipients. Generally, survivors’ benefits are available to children and surviving spouses caring for a recipient’s children if the recipient worked for at least 1.5 years before death. Furthermore, in addition to dependency benefits for survivors of SSDI recipients, widows and widowers, unmarried children and dependent parents of recipients may qualify for survivors’ benefits based on the deceased recipient’s work history. The federal SSDI survivorship benefit rules vary by degree of kinship, age and marital status. For instance, surviving dependent parents of SSDI recipients may receive survivors’ benefits if they are at least 62 years old and are qualified dependents. Qualified dependent-parents must prove they relied on a recipient’s support for at least 50 percent of their daily living expenses.
The amount of benefits that qualified survivors may receive will depend on a recipient’s lifetime earnings. Generally, the more a recipient earned, the larger the survivorship payment. The Social Security Administration also provides one-time payouts of $255 in some cases to survivors of SSDI recipients.