Dear Anxious Father: Your son is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits as soon as either of you claim your Social Security benefit, and he will be entitled to 50% of the amount you are due at your full retirement age (subject to the Family Maximum). If your wife files for her Social Security benefit first, when she files her application (about 3 months before she wishes benefits to start) there is a section where she will be asked to list any dependent(s) who are either minors or disabled, and she should put your son’s full name in this section. When your wife files, she should separately file an SSDI application on your son’s behalf. Even though it is a new SSDI application, your son will not need to go through the normal SSDI determination process; they will adopt his existing SSI determination as evidence of his disability. But if his SSDI benefit is more than $770/month, his SSI will stop; if it’s less than $770/month he’ll draw both to receive that total. Then when you apply for your own Social Security benefit in August, you should file another SSDI application for your son to switch him to his increased benefit based upon your record.
As an FYI, the “Family Maximum” applies whenever 2 or more people are receiving benefits based upon the same worker’s record, which will be the case if your wife also will get a spousal benefit from your record when you apply in August 2020. She will get a spousal benefit if 50% of your benefit at your FRA is more than her own SS benefit at her FRA. The formula for the Family Maximum is somewhat complex, but to simplify, the total benefits from your work record for all beneficiaries can’t be more than 150% to 180% of your “Primary Insurance Amount” (or “PIA” – your benefit amount at your full retirement age). If the usual dependent benefits exceed the Family Maximum, the family maximum amount is proportionally divided among your dependents.
The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited.