Social Security disability benefits for children

Beatrice – N.Y.: My ex-husband is 56 and I’m 67. We were married more than 13 years and have been divorced 15 years. Frank is remarried. I am not. I raised the three children and the twin boys, who are autistic, still live with me. Is there any way for me to collect my ex-husband’s Social Security benefit and suspend my own benefit? He hasn’t reached retirement age, so am I still able to collect on his Social Security benefit?

Phil Moeller: Unfortunately, you can’t. He needs to be at least 62 for you to file on his record. By then, you will be well past 70. At that time, you could file for the benefit and see if it would boost your total benefits. To do so, your former husband would have had to earn much more than you and thus qualify for higher benefits.

However, your sons may qualify for a Social Security benefit based on your record. If they became disabled prior to age 22, they may qualify for this benefit for the rest of their lives. You should ask Social Security for details on this benefit.