15290160_sWhen people in Illinois are approved for disability benefits, they should be aware that some of their family members may also be able to qualify to receive benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, the benefits are based upon the disabled person’s work history and can provide members with benefits no higher than 50 percent of the recipient.

Who can qualify?

Qualifying family members are limited to the following:

  • Current spouses
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Children under 19 years of age who are still in high school
  • Children over 18 who became disabled before they reached the age of 22
  • Disabled children under 18

It is important for people to remember that even an ex-spouse may be able to collect disability payments under certain conditions. Ex-spouses must be unable to collect a higher payment through another source, must be at least 62 years old, unmarried and have been married to the disabled person for a period no less than 10 years. If an ex-spouse qualifies under these criteria, the disabled person’s current marital status does not matter.


While Social Security Disability payments can be made to certain family members, there is a limit as to the amount that the SSA will pay out. The amount is determined by the number of family members collecting on the disabled person’s benefits as well as the amount of benefits that the person is entitled to. The SSA will usually not pay more than 180 percent of a person’s disability benefit to family members.

If a person is left paralyzed after a car accident and is approved for a payment of $1,400 each month, the total amount that the person’s family members would be able to receive would be around $2100 to $2520. This means that if three people qualify for member benefits, they would likely receive payments averaging $700 a month each. The more family members who are qualified to receive benefits, the lower the payment each of them is going to receive.

Factors that can affect benefits

Even when family members meet the qualifications for disability payments, there are other factors that can have an effect on how much they are paid. For instance, a spouse who qualifies for standard Social Security, due to retirement, would generally receive the SS first and then could receive some disability benefits in addition to that payment, depending on how it compares to the disabled spouse’s benefit.

In addition, pensions that a spouse receives and other sources of aid or income may also play a role in determining the amount of benefits that are paid out. People with questions concerning their family members would find it helpful to speak with an experienced disability attorney.

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