Dependents benefits

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Dependents benefits are social security proceeds which may be received by those who rely on the primary recipient’s income. Dependents benefits often take the form of survivor benefits, although in some circumstances dependents may receive benefits while the recipient still lives. 

Dependents of recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be eligible to receive dependents benefits. Only the spouse, child, or parent of the recipient qualify as dependents. 

20 C.F.R. § 404.330 provides when the spouse of a social security recipient may be eligible. It requires that the marriage lasted at least one year, the spouse is the natural parent of a child, or in the month before the couple married the recipient was entitled to social security. It also requires that the dependent-spouse apply; that the dependent-spouse is older than 62 or care for a child who is entitled to child’s benefits on the recipient’s earnings record; and that the dependent-spouse is not entitled to more social security than the recipient. 

20 C.F.R. § 404.370 provides when a child may be eligible to receive their parent-recipient’s benefits. It requires that the parent died; that the child is at least 62 years old; that the child has not married since the recipient died; that the child apply; that the child is not entitled to old-age benefits in an amount that exceeds that recipient’s benefits; and that the child was receiving at least one-half of their support at the time the parent died. 

20 C.F.R. § 404.350 provides when the parent of a child who received social security may be eligible. It requires that the recipient-child has died; that the parent was dependent on the recipient; that the parent apply; that the parent is unmarried; and that the parent is under the age of 18. 

Information on how to apply for dependents benefits can be found at the Social Security Administration website

[Last updated in October of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team