Parents of Disabled Children

Disabled children may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) benefits if they become disabled before adulthood and have a parent who is also disabled. Referred to as “adult disabled children,” recipients of these benefits receive monthly payments to help cover living and special needs expenses.

Qualifications for Determining Disability in Children

If your biological child, adopted child, stepchild, or grandchild is determined to be permanently disabled and you are currently receiving SSD benefits, your child can apply for benefits as well. The child must be a financial dependent and disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s disability guidelines. As parents of a disabled child, you must meet specific work history requirements and have paid Social Security taxes for a minimum length of time. Children of all ages can qualify, as long as the disability occurs before they turn 22.

Children of deceased parents who earned enough work credits before their death to qualify for SSD may also be entitled to benefit payouts.

Benefits may be available to adult disabled children who:

  • Are 18 or older
  • Are unmarried
  • Have an impairment listed on SSA’s list of qualifying disabilities
  • Have a disability expected to persist for at least one year
  • Became disabled before age 22
  • Do not have substantial income

How to File

In cases of disabled adult children, you must contact the Social Security Administration; filing cannot be done online. Your SSD attorney can help you schedule and prepare your appointment with the SSA.

The Disability Determination Service in your state will be responsible for rendering a decision. You can expect a thorough evaluation of your child’s skills, education, vocational abilities, and mental capacity. Your lawyer will let you know what kinds of documentation you can bring along that will help prove your child’s disability is severe and limiting. Your legal team can also work to get your child retroactive benefits as the decision process can take many months.

Additional Benefits for Children

Non-disabled minor or adult children whose parents qualify for SSD benefits may also be eligible to receive benefits known as “auxiliary benefits” until they turn 18, depending on the specific circumstances. Survivor benefits are also available to assist children of deceased parents who qualify.

If you are interested in exploring special circumstances benefits, a skilled SSD attorney can advise your family on the benefit options available to help you make ends meet.  For more information, please contact an SSD attorney in your community.