Can Disabled Children Get SSD Benefits?

If you have a disabled child, you may be wondering if he or she can receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If your child is disabled and under the age of 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not need to consider your child’s disability when deciding if he or she can receive benefits as your dependent. Generally, a child’s SSD benefits stop when he or she turns 18, unless they are still a full-time student in elementary or high school, or they are disabled. Please note that SSD benefits can continue until a child turns 19 if they are still a full-time student.

Was Your Child Disabled Before Age 22?

Did your son or daughter become disabled before the age of 22? In that case, he or she may be eligible for SSD benefits under one of the following circumstances: 1) one of their parents is deceased, or 2) a parent starts receiving SSD benefits or Social Security retirement benefits. The SSA considers this the child’s benefit because the SSA pays it out under the parent’s earning record. For an adult child to qualify for benefits under their parent’s earning record, he or she must be:

  • An adopted child, a biological child, or in some cases a stepchild or grandchild, or even a step-grandchild;
  • Unmarried;
  • Age 18 or older;
  • The disability must have begun before the age 22; and
  • The disabled adult child must meet SSA’s definition of a disability.

What About Work?

A lot of disabled children are incapable of gainful employment. Fortunately, it’s not necessary for an adult child to have worked for them to qualify for SSD benefits under a parent’s earning record. However, for an adult child to qualify, they cannot have substantial earnings. As of 2019, an adult child cannot earn more than $1,220 a month for them to qualify for disability benefits under a parent’s Social Security earnings record. “What if my adult child is receiving SSI benefits or disability benefits on their own earning record?” In that case, they should still check to see if they are entitled to benefits under their parent’s earning record. It is possible that the adult child can receive higher benefits and they may be entitled to Medicare.

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