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Social Security benefits and children

Most people would probably assume that Social Security benefits are only available to adults, whether the retired or the disabled, but in fact Social Security benefits are also available to children. Both Social Security disability benefits and a separate program known as Supplemental Security Income provide benefits to children who meet certain qualifications.

Supplemental Security Income provides monthly payments to adults with low income and few resources who are blind, disabled or 65 or older, as well as children younger than the age of 18. In order for children to qualify, they need to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Their income and resources, as well as their parents’ income and resources, must also stay within certain limits.

With respect to the definition of disability, a child must not be working and earning over a certain amount—$1,070 per month in 2014; the child must also have a physical or mental condition, or a combination thereof, which seriously impairs his or her ability to engage in normal activities; in addition, the child must have had or be expected to have the disability for a minimum of 12 months or to die from the condition.

With respect to SSDI, disabled children are able to receive benefits under a parent’s earning record for disabilities that began prior to the age of 22. A disabled adult is able to receive this benefit only if a parent has been receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or has died having worked long enough to receive benefits.

Adult children and parents who have questions about Social Security benefits for children can contact the agency itself for answers, or can work with an experienced attorney to receive guidance and assistance in submitting applications for benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, “ Can children with disabilities get Social Security benefits? ,” Accessed September 8, 2014.Â

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