Attorneys James T. Carey and P. Zachary Stewart

Pursuing your Claims. Protecting your Rights.

SSD benefits for your child after their 18th birthday

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Social Security Disability

If you’re a parent with a differently abled child, your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a vital source of financial support.

If you don’t have any disabilities, but your child does, they can qualify for the monthly payments based on a parent’s work history. However, the transition from childhood to adulthood can bring about changes in how these benefits are administered and received.

What happens at age 18?

When your child who has been receiving SSD benefits on your Social Security record turns 18, they are no longer considered a child under Social Security rules. This transition marks a shift from benefits based on the parent’s record to potential benefits based on the individual’s circumstances.

Essentially, at 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reevaluates the child’s eligibility for benefits. While minors qualify based on their parent’s disability status, adults must meet different criteria. The SSA conducts a disability determination review to assess if the now-adult child meets the criteria for benefits under the adult definition of disability. This review is crucial because the standards for adult disability are generally stricter than those for children.

Continuing benefits through SSI

If your 18-year-old meets the adult definition of disability, they may transition from receiving benefits based on your record to receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based program that provides financial support to individuals with disabilities who have limited income and resources. This transition involves a financial review to help ensure your teenager meets the income and asset thresholds for SSI eligibility.

Dependency benefits

In some cases, if your child continues to have a disability and was living with the disability before the age of 22, they may still be eligible to receive benefits based on your Social Security record. These are known as Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits. To qualify, your teen must be unmarried, have a disability that began before age 22 and meet the definition of disability for adults.

Your child’s 18th birthday is obviously a significant milestone because this age is universally associated with young adulthood. Other than that, however, your child’s transition from childhood to adulthood in the eyes of the Social Security Administration can bring about substantial changes in benefit eligibility and amount. By speaking with a trusted legal team in anticipation of your child’s 18th birthday, you can help to ensure that they continue to receive some form of financial support.