Social Security Blog
Paw Paw - Social Security Disability Law Blog

Benefits for Adult Children

Posted December 1, 2018

An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child's benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a "child's" benefit because it is paid on a parent's Social Security earnings record. The "adult child"—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild and must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.

It is not necessary that the adult child ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent's earnings record. However, an adult child must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider "substantial" increases each year. In 2014, this means working and earning more than $1,070 a month. Certain expenses the adult child incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. For more information about work and disability, refer to Social Security Administration (SSA)'s book, Working While Disabled--How We Can Help. SSA will evaluate his or her disability the same way we would evaluate the disability for any adult. We send the application to the Disability Determination Services in your state that completes the disability decision for us.

Social Security Administration - Disability Planner: Benefits For A Disabled Child


Paying Taxes on Your Benefits:

Posted November 14, 2018

Some people who get Social Security have to pay taxes on their benefits. About one-third of our current beneficiaries pay taxes on their benefits. You will be affected only if you have substantial income in addition to your Social Security benefits.

  • If you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your income is more than $25,000, you have to pay taxes.
  • If you file a joint return, you may have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a combined income that is more than $32,000.
  • If you are married and file a separate return, you will probably pay taxes on your benefits. For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service.

SSA Publication No. 05-10153 - What you need to know when you get Social Security Disability Benefits


Social Security and Divorce

Posted October 17, 2018

If you have never asked Social Security about receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work, you should do so. Many women get a higher benefit based on their ex-spouse’s work, especially if that spouse is deceased. When you apply, you will need to give your spouse’s Social Security number. If you do not know your spouse’s number, you will need to provide your spouse’s date and place of birth and your spouse's parents’ names. The following requirements also apply to your divorced spouse if your ex-spouse’s eligibility for benefits is based on your work.

  • If your ex-spouse is living.
  • If you are divorced, you can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work if:
  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
  • You are unmarried;
  • You are age 62 or older;
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefits you would receive on your spouse’s work; and
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

If your spouse has not applied for benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s work if you two have been divorced for at least two years. Former spouses who are full retirement age may both file on each other’s record and postpone applying on their own to earn delayed retirement credits. If your ex-spouse is deceased, you can receive benefits:

  • At age 60, or age 50 if you are disabled, if your marriage lasted at least 10 years, and you are not entitled to a higher benefit on your own record.
  • At any age if you are caring for your ex-spouse’s child who also is your natural or legally adopted child and younger than 16 or disabled and entitled to benefits. Your benefits will continue until the child reaches age16 or is no longer disabled. You can receive this benefit even though you were not married to your ex-spouse for10 years.

Social Security Handbook - What Every Woman Should Know