As a married couple ages, the odds that they acquire painful, debilitating conditions like back problems or a bad hip go up. Unfortunately, diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart failure are also part of many married people’s lives. And the fact that one spouse is ailing or disabled does not protect the other from developing a serious health problem too.
You and your spouse could find yourself in a situation where neither of you can work anymore. If that happens, can both of you apply for and receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits? Or can only one person get SSD per household?
Good news for struggling families
Fortunately, SSD law does not impose that kind of limit. If both spouses are disabled as the law defines it, both can receive SSD benefits. And just like the Social Security retirement program, spouses of SSD recipients are eligible for spousal benefits. Depending on the nondisabled spouse’s age and other criteria, they can qualify for up to 50 percent of what the disabled spouse receives.
This can be a great relief for families where the spouses are both struggling to work due to disability or illness. Whether you and your spouse expect to be disabled for the rest of your lives or the next couple of years, you may be able to rely on SSD benefits to help. Keep in mind that while you may also qualify for certain other benefits, like workers’ compensation, getting both at the same time can reduce the amount of SSD you get.