Social Security benefits, though primarily geared toward adults who are disabled and/or retired, are also available to children in a variety of circumstances. These benefits are available through two separate programs, one being the Social Security disability program, which most people thing of providing benefits to disabled adults. The other is Supplemental Security Insurance.
Beginning with Supplemental Security Insurance, children under the age of 18 are able to receive monthly payments as long as they meet the Social Security qualification standards for the program. These include limited income and resources, both for the child and for his or her family.
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, the child must meet several conditions. First, the child must not be working or earning beyond a maximum amount, $1,070 per month in 2014; secondly, he or she must have a qualifying physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions which severely limit his or her activities; third, he or she must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months or to result in death. As one can see, the requirements are strict.
Once a child receiving Supplemental Security Income turns 18, he or she is subjected to a different set of medical and nonmedical rules for purposes of determining disability. One big one is that only his or her resources and income are counted when making a determination.
As far as SSDI, an individual is able to receive benefits under a parent’s earning record for disabilities that began before the age of 22. This is considered a “child” benefit, even though it can begin after the child is already an adult.
Those who have questions about Social Security benefits for children should work with an experienced attorney to have their questions answered and for assistance in putting together their application materials.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Can children with disabilities get Social Security benefits?,” Accessed September 8, 2014.