A Guide to Family Member Benefits from SSDI in Arkansas

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a federal program that helps countless disabled Americans. The program exists to make sure that disabled Americans who are not able to work have the means to live fulfilling lives. Naturally, many people who benefit from SSDI might want to find out if their family can benefit from the SSDI income they receive.

The answer is that, in Arkansas, certain family members can benefit from Social Security Disability Insurance under certain circumstances. These circumstances will differ depending on the family member in question. For example, the requirements will be different for a spouse than they will be for a child.

For a free review of your situation, call our Arkansas SSDI lawyers at (479) 316-0438.

What Are SSDI Family Member Benefits in Arkansas?

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, helps out people who are disabled and can no longer work.

There are strict requirements for being eligible for SSDI. In fact, many SSDI applicants are rejected initially, only to be accepted later, because the requirements are so stringent. It is important to understand these requirements before discussing family benefits, so our Fayetteville SSDI lawyers have briefly detailed them in this section.

Determining Work Requirements

To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, you need to have a prior work history. As you work, you build up credits for the purposes of Social Security. These work credits are used to determine eligibility for SSDI.

The requirements for prior work history will be different depending on your age. After all, someone who is in their 20s likely has less work experience than someone in their 50s. For example, someone who became disabled before they turned 24 will only need six credits in the three years before becoming disabled, whereas someone 31 or older will need 20 credits in ten years prior to becoming disabled to be eligible.

Similar to eligibility requirements, survivor benefits for family members are also linked to credits. The amount you need differs depending on your age, increasing as you get older and maxing out at 40 credits required.

Determining Disability Requirements

Additionally, you have to meet the Social Security definition of disability to be eligible for SSDI. Social Security uses five questions to determine whether you are considered disabled under their definition.

The first question is whether you are working or not. Your work has to amount to less than what is considered “substantial gainful activity” to be eligible. In 2024, that means that you cannot earn more than $1470 per month (or $2,460 if you are blind).

The second question is whether your disability is considered “severe.” This means it must limit your ability to do certain things like walking, lifting heavy things, or remembering things. A third related question is whether you have a listed disability. There is a listing of impairment on the SSDI website that lists eligible conditions.

Fourth is whether you can do the work you did prior to becoming disabled. For example, if you previously worked as an operator of heavy machinery and, as a result of your disability, lost fine motor skills, you probably will not be able to do that job anymore.

The final determination is whether you can do any other type of work that amounts to substantial gainful activity. Essentially, this is asking whether you can readily be employed in another job. This can be a trick requirement, so it is best to discuss your situation with our team to figure out the best way to handle things with SSDI.

Family Members Who Can Receive Your SSDI Benefits in Arkansas

Social Security Disability Insurance allows certain family members to benefit from your SSDI payments. Per the SSA website, spouses, divorced spouses, children, and adult children who became disabled before the age of 22 can be eligible to receive your SSDI benefits.

How Much Do Spouses Get from SSDI?

Spouses can benefit from your SSDI if they are 62 years old or older, at any age if they are caring for your child, or at any age if your spouse became disabled before the age of 22. One exception to this is if your spouse is already eligible for greater Social Security benefits. In those cases, their greater benefits are used. Additionally, benefits given to your spouse are reduced by a percentage based on how many months are left until they reach full retirement age.

How Much Do Divorced Spouses Get from SSDI?

Divorced spouses can also be eligible for your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits under some circumstances. Those requirements are different from the requirements for a spouse you are currently married to.

To be eligible for your SSDI benefits, a divorced spouse must have been previously married to you for at least ten years, be at least 62 years old, be unmarried, and not be eligible for benefits that are at least as good as yours through another Social Security program.

It is important to remember that your divorced spouse’s eligibility will not affect the eligibility of a current spouse or the amount that can be paid to your current spouse.

How Much Do Kids Get from Parents on SSDI?

Your children are also eligible to benefit from Social Security Disability Insurance that you receive. To be eligible, your child must be unmarried. Additionally, they must be under the age of 18 or, alternatively, be a full-time student between the ages of 18 and 19. Finally, your children can benefit from your SSDI if they become disabled before the age of 22.

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits stop once a child reaches the age of 18 unless they are disabled unless one of the alternate circumstances discussed above applies.

The Application Process for SSDI Family Member Benefits in Arkansas

When applying for auxiliary benefits, it is important to be aware of the process and the required documentation. First, you will need to gather detailed documentation such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and proof of the SSDI recipient’s disability benefits. It is also important to submit the application promptly since benefits are usually paid from the time of application rather than the onset of the disability.

Once you have collected all the necessary documents, you can apply for auxiliary benefits. During the application process, you will be required to provide information about the SSDI recipient’s medical condition and how it affects their ability to work. This information helps the SSA evaluate the eligibility of the recipient for auxiliary benefits.

Additionally, you will need to provide detailed information about your family’s income and resources, as this information is used to determine the amount of benefits you’re eligible for.

After submitting the application, the SSA will review it and make a decision. If your application is approved, the SSA will send you a letter explaining how much the benefits will be and when they will start. It’s important to note that the amount of benefits you receive is dependent on various factors, such as the recipient’s work history and the number of dependents. In case your application is denied, the letter will explain the reason for the denial and provide information on how to appeal the decision.

What Types of Benefits Can You and Your Family Receive from SSDI in Arkansas?

The SSDI program provides monthly benefits to qualified individuals based on their average lifetime earnings before their disability begins. These benefits are not based on the severity of the disability but on the income record of the claimant. The amount changes annually to account for cost-of-living adjustments.

Financial Assistance for Families

In addition to the monthly cash benefits, there are several other financial assistance programs that SSDI recipients and their families can take advantage of. These include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), disability insurance benefits, and disabled widow(er) benefits.

The SSI program is designed to provide additional income to help aged, blind, and disabled individuals who have little or no income meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The amount of these benefits can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the recipient’s work history, current income, and living situation.

For instance, the amount of SSDI benefits that a person is eligible to receive is based on their average lifetime earnings prior to becoming disabled. In contrast, SSI benefits are calculated based on the recipient’s current income and assets, as well as their living situation. Additionally, disabled widow(er) benefits are available to widows or widowers who are at least 50 years old and who have become disabled within a certain period of time after their spouse’s death.

Healthcare Services

If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, you might also be eligible for Medicare coverage after a waiting period of 24 months from the date of entitlement to SSDI benefits. This coverage can significantly reduce healthcare costs for disabled individuals and their families, providing access to necessary medical services, treatments, and medications.

Apart from healthcare services, SSDI also offers rehabilitation and job training programs to help disabled individuals return to work if and when they are able. These programs include vocational rehabilitation, job training, employment services, and other support to help individuals overcome barriers to employment. In vocational rehabilitation, you can receive specialized training to improve your job skills and increase your chances of finding suitable employment.

Can I Increase My SSDI Family Member Benefits in Arkansas?

Given that SSDI benefits are calculated based on the recipient’s earning record, it is generally not possible to increase these benefits once they’ve been awarded. The amount is determined by the SSA using a complex formula that takes into account the recipient’s taxable income over their working years.

However, there are some circumstances in which your family’s total benefits might increase. For example, if another family member becomes eligible for benefits, such as a child turning 18 or a spouse reaching retirement age, this could potentially increase the total family benefits.

Regular Benefit Adjustments

While SSDI family member benefits generally cannot be increased, they are subject to annual adjustments based on the cost of living. This adjustment is known as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which can result in a slight increase in benefits from year to year.

The Social Security Administration calculates the COLA based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) of the previous year’s third quarter. The amount of increase varies from year to year and depends on inflation rates.

Exploring Other Sources of Support

If you find that the family member benefits provided by the SSDI program are not enough to meet your family’s financial needs, there are other options you can explore. One option is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides financial assistance to people who have limited income and resources.

Another option is Medicaid, a program that provides healthcare coverage to those who are eligible. Finally, there are food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that can help with groceries and other essential food items. Keep in mind that these programs have different eligibility requirements, so it is worth looking into each one to see if you qualify.

Appeal Your Initial Claim

If you disagree with the decision made on your SSDI claim, you have the right to appeal. The first level of appeal is known as reconsideration, where someone who was not involved in the original decision reviews your claim. If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome, you can proceed to the hearing level, where an administrative law judge will review your case.

To appeal your claim, you must submit a written request within 60 days of receiving the decision letter. However, you will need to provide all relevant new information or evidence that could affect the outcome of your claim.

Call Our Arkansas SSDI Lawyers Right Away

Do not hesitate to get in touch with our Arkansas SSDI attorneys by calling (479) 316-0438.