If you are currently getting Social Security Disability benefits, you may have already heard that your survivors may inherit your benefits. When this happens, eligible survivors continue to get the payments you received while still alive. 

According to the Social Security Administration, this may become possible if you earned enough credits through your job. For example, you can earn one credit for each $1,410 in 2020 and you can earn up to four annual credits. 

Who becomes eligible?

Within 10 years of paid work, most people become eligible for Social Security benefits. However, younger people need fewer credits for their survivors to qualify for receiving their SSD benefits. Eligible parties for receiving these benefits include dependent children or a spouse. 

What would your spouse receive?

If you are the breadwinner, you may feel anxious about your spouse’s eligibility for SSD in the event of your passing. Widows or widowers may receive the following: 

  • Benefits at any age if they are caring for your child who has disabilities or is under 16 years old and he or she did not remarry 
  • Benefits as soon as 50 years old if disabled and the disability occurs prior to or within seven years after you pass away 
  • Reduced benefits by age 60 or full benefits at or after retirement 

Note that even your surviving divorced spouse may become eligible for benefits. In fact, your ex may receive the same benefits as your current spouse, as long as that marriage lasted for at least a decade or if they are caring for your child who has disabilities or is under 16 years old.