Social Security Benefits for Children
When you hear the term “Social Security,” you may automatically envision retirees and senior citizens. However, there is another category of Social Security benefits available to the most vulnerable segment of society: payments made to benefit children. In fact, a study conducted in 2017 showed that approximately 4.2 million children received $2.6 billion in aid.
When a parent dies, retires or becomes disabled, his or her children may qualify for Social Security benefits that are designed to offer support through high school. This same law also benefits unmarried, dependent children who were being cared for by a parent who has passed away, become disabled, or who are cared for by elderly grandparents.
SSI for Low-income Disabled Children
If a child meets the disability requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and has little income or resources, that child may be eligible for benefits. Of course, a portion of his or her parents’ income is considered in determining whether the child meets the financial eligibility standards for SSI.
Once the disabled child reaches the age of 18, he or she must qualify for SSI as an adult. At this point, the parents’ income is no longer a factor in determining eligibility. That being said, if the parents still provide food and shelter, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may take that into consideration and reduce the child’s disability payment.
Children over the age of 18 who become disabled prior to the age of 22 are entitled to receive disability benefits assuming they have a parent who is collecting SSDI or Social Security retirement income (or who have a deceased parent who was receiving one of those benefits prior to their death).
Children Who are Not Disabled May Qualify for SSI
Children who are younger than 18 (or 19 if a full-time student) may be able to collect dependent benefits whether they are disabled or not, if their parent is currently receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Social Security retirement benefits regardless of whether or not they are disabled.
Social Security Dependents Benefits
All children, whether or not they are disabled, are entitled to receive Social Security benefits if their parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent is receiving Social Security retirement or SSDI, or if they were entitled to one of these benefits prior to their death. Such children may collect benefits on the basis of their parents’ Social Security record, which are known as auxiliary benefits, or dependents benefits.
A child may receive up to one half of the parent’s monthly benefit, subject to a family maximum, and until the child reaches the age of 18. If that child is a full-time secondary school student, benefits continue until the age of 19. Benefits cease if the child gets married.
SSDI Benefits for Disabled Young Adults or Adult Children
If a child is disabled when he or she turns 18, or in the event a young adult becomes disabled before turning 22, the Social Security dependents benefits discussed above can be continued for as long as the person is disabled. In other words, the disabled child can collect SSDI if a parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent is receiving Social Security retirement or SSDI, or if the parent was entitled to one of these benefits prior to their death. In some cases, if there is no living parent, a grandchild or step grandchild can be eligible for these benefits as well.
In order to receive dependent benefits, the young adult must meet the same definition of “disability” as an adult under the Social Security system. This category of dependent benefit is known a “child’s benefit” – not because the recipient is young, but because the parent’s earning record is used to qualify for the benefit. This scenario may occur when a parent of a disabled child delays collecting Social Security benefits until retirement. The disabled child becomes eligible to receive a “child’s disability benefit” at the point when the parent collects his or her Social Security benefits.
Social Security or SSI for Disabled Adults
In order for a young adult who becomes disabled after age 22 to receive benefits, he or she must either have an income low enough to meet the criteria or will need to rely on his or her own earnings record in order to collect SSDI. While a young adult must have gained some work credits, the amount of credits necessary to receive benefits is lower than an older worker.
Social Security Attorneys – Long Beach
Attorneys at the Long Beach-based firm of Cantrell Green have assisted hundreds of families of disabled children and young adults in applying for disability benefits – and have successfully appealed disability benefit denials. Call us today and we will review your unique circumstances and determine the best course of action for you to receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Social Security Disability Attorney Consultation: 800-964-8047