The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows eligibility for both parent and child to receive Social Security benefits. However, depending on the type of benefits the parent already receives, the child may be prohibited from collecting the same benefits.
The SSA provides two different benefit programs—Social Security Disability insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides financial support for people who are too injured or physically incapable of supporting themselves and their families. SSI provides financial support on a limited basis for families who have restrictive means of supporting themselves and families. Although similar, the two programs differ in significant ways, such as how benefits are determined, qualification standards, and so on. The rules governing child assistance differ as well.
SSA Benefits for Children
There are two forms of benefits that the child of a disability recipient can collect.
Auxiliary benefits. Auxiliary benefits are awarded to a
financially-dependent child based on the Social Security record
of a disabled parent or guardian receiving SSDI. A dependent
child can receive disability benefits whether or not he’s disabled,
as the benefits are derived from the parent’s record.
To be eligible for these benefits, the dependent child must be related to the SSDI recipient in one of the following ways:
- Biological child—parents’ marital status is unimportant, but paternity must be established to receive benefits
- Adopted child
- Grandchild or step-grandchild—in cases where there are no living parents or other guardians in the child’s life
Keep in mind that children of parents who collect SSI are not entitled to auxiliary benefits, as the capacity for the parent to support the child still exists. In addition, if a child marries before turning 18, then his or her benefits will stop.
Personal disability benefits. To be eligible for SSI disability benefits, a child must be either blind or disabled and satisfy the following requirements:
- Age. Child must be younger than 18 years of age.
- Condition severity. Child must satisfy requirements for child disability impairments laid out in the SSA blue book. Once the child reaches 18, his benefits will be re-evaluated under the adult impairment regulations. A child with a visual impairment may be eligible for SSI benefits based on blindness if the impairment meets the definition for the condition.
- Financial. Since work records are used to determine SSI eligibility, benefits for children are determined by the records of their parents. A portion of the guardian's income and resources will be considered as viable income for the child, as long as the guardian is not receiving SSI benefits. If the parent is receiving benefits, the child may still be eligible for disability in his own right, but the amount of support will be calculated differently, based on need.
Allow Us to Help Determine Your Eligibility
If you’re currently drawing disability and feel your child is eligible to receive aid as well, contact our office today. Disability law can be complicated and misleading, especially when there are other family benefits involved. Don’t allow your child to miss out on the financial aid to which he’s entitled just because the process may be complex. Instead, allow us to guide you to ensure every rule is met and every qualification is included in your claim. We’re here to help!