Ask Bob: Can I Qualify for Spousal Benefits If I’m Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance?

Mindy Cleaveland, a senior financial advisor with Modera Wealth Management, explains how a person who receives Social Security disability insurance can qualify for spousal benefits.
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Question

I'm disabled and I've been married for more than 10 years. I am currently collecting Social Security disability insurance on my own record. My spouse's benefit would be higher. What are the facts about collecting and when?

Answer

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) works differently than your normal retirement benefits through Social Security, says Mindy Cleaveland, a senior financial advisor with Modera Wealth Management.

“When collecting disability, you would receive an amount based on your own income and benefit credits,” she says. “Unfortunately, you would not be able to collect on your spouse’s benefit here.”

Depending on your household combined income, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To be eligible though, you must have limited income and assets. You can find more information about eligibility here.

You could collect spousal benefits, if your spouse is over age 62 and collecting normal Social Security benefits already, says Cleaveland. “Your own benefits will be compared to half of your spouse’s,” she says. “If half of theirs is higher than yours, you can apply for your own benefit and receive an additional amount to equal half of your spouse’s. Again this would be for normal benefits, rather than disability, but may be worth exploring.”

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Question

I'm disabled and I've been married for more than 10 years. I am currently collecting Social Security disability insurance on my own record. My spouse's benefit would be higher. What are the facts about collecting and when?

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