If you receive disability benefits for a qualifying medical condition and have a family, you may also receive benefits for those family members. If so, these benefits may be vital to your ability to care for yourself and your family. After all, being unable to work and earn an income as you normally would can often be tremendously stressful from a financial perspective.
Often, parents wonder if, after a child reaches the age of 18, they will no longer qualify for benefits. This is an understandable concern. As with so many legal matters, the answer will vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case.
A Closer Look At Available Benefits
Generally, the Social Security Administration provides two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSDI benefits are benefits that the Social Security Administration pays to disabled individuals who are “insured.”
Being “insured” essentially means that the recipient worked a qualifying job for a necessary length of time, through which they paid a portion of their salary to the Social Security Administration. In addition, the recipient must have a qualifying medical condition that has rendered them disabled for a period of at least one calendar year or more.
If you are disabled and receive SSDI benefits, but you have children who are not disabled, they may be able to receive benefits on your behalf. These are often known as “auxiliary disability benefits.” Eligible children may include biological children, adopted children, stepchildren, or even dependent grandchildren.
In order to qualify for receipt of benefits, the child at issue must:
- Be unmarried.
- Be under age 18; or
- Be 18 to 19 years of age and a full-time student
- Be 18 or older and disabled as a result of a disability that began before the age of 22.
The guidelines for how much each family member might receive can involve complicated calculations. Generally, however, a good rule of thumb to remember is that a family’s total benefit cannot be more than 150% or less than 100% of the disabled individual’s primary insurance amount (PIA).
Typically, when a child reaches the age of 18 (or older, depending upon the guidelines set forth above), their portion of SSDI benefits will cease. As children grow older, many things change, and ultimately, disability benefits are no exception. By definition, the Social Security Administration defines “childhood” benefits as those intended for beneficiaries under the age of 18. Upon turning 18, the recipient will have to undergo a new assessment and determination of eligibility.
A Closer Look At Exceptions For Disabled Children
While SSDI benefits will typically cease when a child reaches 18 (or 19 if in school), this rule has certain exceptions. One such exception is for children who are themselves disabled and unable to work. In those cases, they may be able to receive SSDI under the parent’s name until the age of 22. After reaching the age of 22, a disabled child would typically need to apply for SSI benefits in their own name to continue receiving financial support. At 22, the disabled child would not have a sufficient work history to qualify for SSDI benefits, making SSI benefits the best option in most cases.
SSI benefits, like SSDI benefits, are disability benefits paid to individuals with a qualifying medical condition that renders them disabled for one calendar year or more. Unlike SSDI benefits, however, those who receive SSI benefits need not have worked a job through which they paid into the Social Security system. There are, however, income and resource limits that apply to those who receive SSI benefits. The amount changes from year to year, but those who receive benefits generally must be able to establish that they have income and resources below the limit established by the Social Security Administration for that particular year.
If you have a child who struggles with a disability, disability benefits may be a vital component of your ability to care for your child adequately and provide for their needs. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney regarding eligibility for benefits will be essential to ensure that you make the best decisions for yourself and those you love. At Sackett Law, we’re here for you.
Sackett Law – Your Disability Attorneys
Having a disability is difficult. There’s no question about it-and this is true whether you have a child struggling with a disability or whether you have a disability yourself. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, the good news is that at Sackett Law, we can help. Our knowledgeable and experienced team of disability attorneys has years of experience representing clients just like you who need and deserve disability benefits. We understand the best legal strategies to pursue on your behalf, and we will fight for you every step of the way. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.