Disability, General, Retirement, SSI, Survivors

You and Your Family May Be Eligible for Increased Benefits

September 9, 2021 • By

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Last Updated: September 9, 2021

mother and daughter using laptop onlineWe know your circumstances may change after you apply—or become eligible—for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain life changes could entitle you to an increase in your benefit amount.

As part of our Potential Entitlement initiative, we want to help you identify where you might qualify for a higher benefit. For example, you may be entitled to higher benefits based on your own earnings record or someone else’s record. Some of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits include the following scenarios:

  • If your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may be eligible for a higher survivor benefit based on his or her earnings record. The death of an ex-spouse may entitle you to a higher survivor benefit even if you are already receiving a survivor benefit on another spouse. Our publication, Survivors Benefits, has additional information we encourage you to check out.
  • If you are receiving Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work and you have worked, you may be eligible for a higher retirement benefit based on your own work.
  • If your deceased adult child provided at least half of your support, you may be eligible for a higher parent’s benefit based on your child’s work history. Our publication, Parent’s Benefits, includes more information you may want to consider.

We continue to focus our Potential Entitlement initiative on people who face barriers to service. This includes our elderly population, children with disabilities, veterans, SSI recipients, and people with limited English proficiency. We are proud to say that since we started the initiative in 2017, our efforts have resulted in approximately $553 million in retroactive and total monthly increased benefits paid.

We encourage you to check out our Explore the Benefits You May Be Due page for more information on any additional benefits available for you and your family. You can use your personal my Social Security account to check your benefit and payment information – along with your earnings record. If you don’t have a personal my Social Security account, you can create one today!

Please share this information with your friends and family—and post it on social media.


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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Comments

  1. Lia

    My son is going to be 18 soon and he got diagnosed of ADHD when he was 12 years old can I apply him for disability, if so how?

    • Bill

      ADHD does not make him disabled. I have been ADHD all my life and completed a 23 year career in the military and a 24 year second career in the civilian workplace. I am now fully retired.p, i was never considered disabled.

      • M.Martinez

        Wao…and After that judgmental comment of ignorance And you still feel so accomplished?? a child unrelated to you, not by blood, water…hell! Not even from your era! Isnt disabled according to your ADHD from half a century and before advancements in medicine, before the changes in laws ago?!

    • Patty

      Hi Lia. Thank you for the question. Check out our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) web page which provides details on how to apply for SSI based on the type of application.  You may also find our list of impairments useful. We hope this helps.

  2. Kari F.

    I currently receive survivors benefits. I had to take it at a 50 % reduction because I was 60 years old when I applied for it and having health issues. Although I worked for many years, I haven’t worked full time in over 10 yrs. So can’t qualify for disability. Surgery postponed again because of covid for the 2nd time. How can I get more help !

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Kari. We are sorry to hear about your situation and condition. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

  3. Michele

    If I receive ssdi due to a failed back surgery and I also suffer from mental health issues and am unable to work do I also qualify for Ssi also I used to receive survivors benefits from my father passing but no longer receive due to my age that shouldn’t have anything to do with my benefits being my father passed away 30 years ago correct

    • Melinda B.

      I know that if your Ssdi monthly amount is more than the amount of ssi monthly amount which is currently $794 you cannot get ssi also. I use to work with a social security lawyer so I know a little about this kind of legal advice. I also am on ssdi too and my check is only $841 a month so I don’t qualify for ssi. One more thing in the next stimulus package they are trying to get ssi raised to 1,073.00 a month which would be more than my monthly payment, and I’m going to apply for ssi if the government passes it. If the don’t pass it in this next package they probably will do it for the next package, but from everything that I have read and watched it is highly likely that it will pass in this one, sorry for the long story but I hope this helps!

      • Maricica S.

        Talking about the next stimulus package where the admin I presume raises your monthly benefit to $1073.
        I’m seeing online news where seniors receiving Social Security will be getting a O6% raise. I only read the headline. I’m a skeptic who will believe it when I see it January 2022.
        I am 64 yoa F who receives $1086 SSD a month. I believe my 6 percent raise will be offset by inflation. The Fed is monitoring a gradual amount of inflation which they’re saying is temporary and moderate some time in the future (maybe 2023). CD interest is forecast to raise in possibly 2023.
        All in all I will be proportionally in the same financial shape in 2023 as I am now. 6 percent COLA isn’t anything for me to get excited about since inflation will be eating up a %6 raise after next year.
        I didnt do the math on the $841 but I can see where a 06% raise for you is no where near a raise to $1073.
        If I may ask, how or what is on the table for such a significant raise for you?? I wouldn’t mind getting more raise than 6 percent. Unrelated to the SSA, I am more in favor of all Americans receiving a universal basic income. But getting back to the raise you mention. Are there any publications I could look at or a Congressional site?? Thank you!!!

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Michele. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  4. Ruby l.

    I been getting ssi for sometime now but I’m also being diagnosed with other serious illness i need help because my check has stayed the same during this whole pandemic we the people on disability need help just as the ones who get the unemployment and the child tax credit we don’t have any children this is not fair to us we need help just like they do thank you so much

    • Debra B.

      I agree with you I’m on SSI with no dependents

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Ruby. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

  5. Heather y.

    My whole ex husband father of children passed away in November 2019 his income was SSI is my son able to collect survivor benefits he is 14

    • Patty

      Hi Heather. We are sorry for your loss. Your son may be eligible for survivor benefits if his father earned enough Social Security credits through his work. Unmarried children who are under 18 (up to age 19) if attending elementary or secondary school full time) can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits when a parent dies.

      To inquire about potential benefits, you can call your local Social Security office.  Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office locator.  They number may appear under Show Additional Office information. Please be aware our call wait times are longer than normal.  We hope this information helps.

  6. Kim B.

    I’ve been on SSDI for a few years – soon to be 65 and how can I draw my ex husband ( still alive ) benefits

    • Melinda B.

      You can’t draw from from your ex husband’s account until he dies then you can collect survivors benefits. That’s the only way you can collect from an ex husband, I’m going thru the same thing and that’s what I was told. But being almost 65 your going to be receiving your retirement benefits if you don’t have to wait till your 67, call the ssa office, your local one not the 1800 number and ask them the age you can start receiving your retirement amount is usually more than ssdi, hope this helps! Good luck

      • Melinda B.

        I forgot to put in my reply that in order to collect the widows benefits you need to have been married at least 10 years sorry I forgot.

      • Betty C.

        i was on ssdi since i was 38 yrs old. i am now 67. at 66yrs and 3 months it switched over to ssa. my check check stayed the same.

    • Patty

      Hi Kim. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. For more information on how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits, visit our Benefits Planner: If You Are Divorced. We hope this helps.

      To inquire about potential benefits, call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      • LAH

        It is not clear in any of the info about the ex spouse who is on SSDI who wants to draw ex spouse benefits if they are higher. Assuming they were married over 10 years, is there an age limit to when you can begin to draw the higher amount, does it affect the amount if not fra, and does the ex spouse (not on ssdi) also have to either be receiving benefits or a certain age. THANK YOU FOR INFO!!

        • Vonda

          Hi LAH, thanks for using our blog. If divorced, the ex may be able to receive divorced spouse’s benefits if:

          – The marriage lasted 10 years or longer.

          – They’re unmarried.

          – They’re age 62 or older.

          – The benefit that they’re entitled to receive based on their own work (disability or retirement) is less than the benefit they would receive based on their ex-spouse’s work.

          – Their ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

          Check out our Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse web page for more information. We hope this is helpful.

  7. Tammy G.

    I was married 23 years I divorced him then he died I get ssdi I remarried and divorced can I draw off my deceased husband’s SSDI TEXAS

    • Melinda B.

      You are entitled to get survivors benefits from your ex husband because you were married to him more than 10 years, what’s more is you can draw off your second ex husband when he dies if you were married at least 10 years, hope this helps

    • Patty

      Hi Tammy. Thanks for your question. If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, you could get benefits provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. Typically, a surviving divorced spouse at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount. However, you would only switch over to that amount if it is higher than what you’re currently receiving.

      To inquire about potential benefits, call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. For more information visit our If You Are The Survivor web page. We hope this information helps.

    • Joe

      Why would you want money from someone who divorced you that’s dead 🤔 get a job.

  8. Deborah

    My husband has past how do I find out if he has pension I get his ss every month which is not much can u help

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Deborah. We are sorry to hear about your loss. You may wish to contact his previous employer to determine if there is a pension payable to you. We hope this helps. 

  9. jameikabrown371@gmail.com

    Having a amputation can it raise ur ssi.

    • Patty

      Hi Jameika.  Thanks for using our blog. We do not base your Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  benefit amount on the severity of your disability.  SSI pays individuals that are disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have “limited” income and resources. Check out our Understanding SSI web page for more information.  We hope this helps.

  10. Linda

    Is it true that your ssdi goes up.ig you have more medical issues than when you were approved?

    • Mary. S.

      As someone who have had SSDI for 15 years, l can tell you having more medical issues than the time one was approved doesn’t make your SDDI go up. What makes your SSDI increase or decrease each year is the cost of living, which is called COST OF living ADJUSTMENT . This will determine if there I will be an increase or decrease in percentage of your SSDl, SSI and social security retirement . It is based on the percentage increase in the consumer price urban wage earners and clerical workers ( CPI_W), For example, last year the increase was 1.6% and this year 2021 the COLA decreased to 1. 3% . l hope the above statement has answered your question , and sheds some light to your question , and that having more medical diagnosis or problems doesn’t increase the amount of SSDI.

      • Betty C.

        more medical problems will not increase your ssdi, believe me, i was on ssdi for 28 yrs until it switched over to ssa..mycheck never ever went down!!!

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Linda. We do not base your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefit amount on the severity of your disability. We base it on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began.Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, and we used the highest years of your earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount. We hope this information helps!

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