When a person suffers from a medical condition that prevents him/her from going to work, then that person may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, it is not just the disabled worker who is eligible for benefits. In some cases, the family members may be eligible for benefits. Benefits that are paid out to family members are called auxiliary benefits. They are only applicable to the family members of the disabled worker.
Auxiliary benefits are not available in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. Auxiliary benefits apply only to an individual who worked in covered employment (SSDI) long enough to be insured and who had been working recently in covered employment prior to the onset of disability.
Both the spouse as well as the children of the disabled worker may qualify for auxiliary benefits. However, there are certain criteria the Social Security Administration will look for in order to pay out auxiliary benefits. If you are the spouse of a disabled worker, then you must be below the age of 62, or you must have a child below the age of 16 or a disabled child in his/her care to qualify for benefits. If you are the child of a disabled worker, you may also qualify for auxiliary benefits if you are below the age of 18. The Social Security Administration also requires that only unmarried children receive auxiliary benefits, and must be enrolled in school full time, in order to be eligible for these benefits. Even divorced spouses of disabled workers may be eligible for benefits if the marriage lasted a minimum of 10 years.
You can apply for Social Security auxiliary benefits for your spouse and children at the time of filing your application for disability benefits. If you decide after filing your application that you want your spouse and children to receive benefits too, then their application can be filed at a later date as well.