Social Security Disability Information
The Social Security Disability program pays benefits to applicants who have long-term disabilities and cannot work for at least a year. Their injuries, illnesses and impairments must prevent applicants from doing their current jobs or adjusting to other types of work. Applicants must also have paid into Social Security when they worked and accumulated the required number of work credits. For every $1,120 made in a year, a work credit is earned. Only four can be earned annually. The SSA requires 40 work credits but younger workers who didn't reach this requirement because their disabilities cut their employment years short may still qualify for benefits
To receive disability benefits based off of your wife's earnings record, you must satisfy several requirements. You must be either 62 years of age or older or you can receive benefits at any age if you are taking care of her children until they turn 16. If you qualify for SSA Retirement benefits before you stopped working, the federal agency would pay you those benefits first over benefits from your wife's record. However, if the benefit from your wife's record is higher than your retirement payments, the SSA would combine both benefits to equal the higher amount.
Your payment amounts would equal one-half of your wife's full disability benefit. However, your children are also eligible to receive benefits off of your wife's earnings record which could impact your amounts. The total amounts they can receive is 50 percent as well but the total amount your family can receive from your wife's record is 80 percent. Each member's benefit amounts are reduced proportionately by the SSA to prevent total payments from exceeding the income limit.
If you and/or your wife worked prior to her becoming disabled, your earned wages and other taxable compensation such as dividends and interest can cause the Internal Revenue Service to tax your benefits at normal income tax rates. If your combined incomes, including disability benefits, exceed $32,000, the IRS taxes 50 percent of your SSA payments and up to 85 percent if your incomes top $44,000.