People of all ages can suffer from disabilities, including children. If your child is disabled, it’s important to understand whether or not they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The rules regarding eligibility for SSDI benefits are complex, which is why it’s best to discuss your situation with a Tampa Social Security attorney. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know regarding SSDI benefits for children:
How Can Children Obtain SSDI Benefits?
There are two ways that a child can obtain SSDI benefits:
- Family Benefits
- Adults Disabled Before 22
What Are Family Benefits?
If someone is approved for Social Security benefits, certain members of their family may qualify for benefits on their record, including their biological, adopted, or stepchildren.
If you currently receive SSDI benefits, your child may qualify for benefits until they are 18 years old. However, their benefits may be extended past their 18th birthday under certain circumstances. The SSA will not need to verify that your child is disabled in order to determine their eligibility for benefits. This is because your child is entitled to these benefits on your record regardless of whether or not they are disabled.
Each member of your family who receives SSDI benefits on your record is entitled to up to 50% of your monthly disability amount. But the SSA has established certain limits on the amount of benefits that a family can receive as a whole per month.
The maximum monthly limit will vary depending on the number of people in your family who are receiving SSDI benefits on your record and your benefit amount. But typically, the monthly maximum limit for you and your family falls between 150-180% of your monthly disability amount.
For example, say you receive $1,000 in monthly SSDI benefits. If your child applies for SSDI benefits on your record, they are entitled to 50% of this amount, or $500 per month. This means you and your child together would earn 150% of your monthly disability amount.
But if another member of your family applies for benefits on your record, they are also entitled to 50% of your monthly disability amount, or $500. This would put your family’s total at $2,000, or 200% of your monthly disability amount. This is above the 150-180% maximum set by the SSA. As a result, the amount that each of your family members receives would be reduced to bring the family’s total below the monthly limit. Your benefit will not be affected since you are the one who initially qualified for these benefits.
How Can Adults Disabled Before 22 Get SSDI Benefits?
The SSA also has a program that allows adults who were disabled before the age of 22 collect SSDI benefits. If your adult child was disabled before the age of 22, they may be able to obtain benefits on your record even though they are no longer a minor.
To qualify, the adult child must meet these conditions:
- Have a parent that is deceased who worked long enough to qualify for benefits or have a parent that is currently receiving Social Security benefits.
- Be unmarried.
- 18 years of age or older.
- Have a disability that started before the age of 22.
- Meet the SSA’s definition of disabled.
It’s important to note that an adult child who was disabled before the age of 22 must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled in order to collect SSDI benefits on their parent’s record. This means the adult child must meet these conditions:
- Unable to work due to their disabling physical or mental condition, and
- Suffer from a disabling physical or mental condition that has lasted at least one year or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
If your adult child meets these conditions, they may qualify for SSDI benefits on your record even though they are no longer under the age of 18. Your child can continue to receive these benefits on your record for as long as they are disabled. However, the benefits may stop if your child gets married or begins earning income over the monthly limits established by the SSA.
Do Disabled Children Qualify for Other Benefits?
If your child does not qualify for SSDI benefits, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is also administered by the SSA.
Your child may qualify for these benefits if they:
- Are under the age of 18,
- Meet the SSA’s definition of a disabled child, and
- Meet certain income and financial resource requirements.
What is the SSA’s Definition of A Disabled Child?
A child meets the SSA’s definition of a disabled child if they:
- Do not earn more than $1,260 per month.
- Suffer from a medical condition, or a number of medical conditions, that result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means their physical and mental conditions must severely limit their ability to engage in certain activities.
- Suffer from a disabling condition that has lasted for at least 12 months, is expected to last for at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death.
What Are the Income and Financial Resource Requirements for SSI Benefits for Children?
SSI is a needs-based program, so these benefits are only awarded to people with limited income and financial resources. If your child lives at home, the SSA will consider the household’s income and financial resources when determining whether or not the child qualifies for benefits.
If your child’s income and resources—or the household’s combined income and resources—is above a certain limit established by the SSA, your child will not qualify for SSI benefits.
Discuss Your Case With Our SSDI Attorneys Today
If your child is disabled, contact the skilled SSDI attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett as soon as possible.
Tell us more about your unique situation so we can help you understand your options. If your child qualifies for benefits, our team of Social Security attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure they can obtain the benefits they need and deserve as quickly as possible.