Many Illinois parents who live with disabilities may struggle to provide for their children. Fortunately, if disabled parents are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, their children can also qualify for SSD benefits. These dependent’s benefits may continue until a child turns 18. If a child meets certain criteria, benefits may even be available after that point.
Benefits for children
The child of an SSD benefit recipient can collect up to 50 percent of the parent’s benefit amount. However, the total amount that a disabled individual’s family members can receive is capped. Typically, total dependent’s benefits cannot exceed 50 to 80 percent of the original benefit amount. The duration a child can receive dependent’s benefits varies based on the child’s health and educational status:
- A full-time student may continue receiving benefits until one of two events occurs: the student turns 19 or the student leaves secondary school.
- A child who became disabled before age 22 may continue collecting benefits off of a disabled parent’s earnings record indefinitely. However, after turning 18, the child must meet the SSA’s adult definition of disability.
- All other children can receive dependent’s benefits until the month before they turn 18.
If a child who falls into any of these categories marries, he or she loses eligibility for dependent’s benefits. The Social Security Administration makes an exception for disabled children who marry other SSD recipients.
To apply for disability benefits for children, parents will need to provide the SSA with basic identifying information. This includes the child’s birth certificate and the Social Security numbers of both the parent and child. Proof of secondary school enrollment is necessary for children between ages 18 and 19. For disabled children who are older than 18, evidence of the child’s disabling condition is also necessary.
Disabled adult children
To be considered disabled, an adult child must have a medically established condition that prevents gainful employment. The disabling condition must have lasted longer than a year, or it must be expected to do so. An adult child may also qualify for benefits if necessary treatment for the disabling condition makes substantial work unreasonable.
An adult child who is considered disabled under these criteria may be able to collect SSD benefits based on his or her own earning record. Adult children who were able to work before becoming disabled or despite the disability may qualify for greater benefits off of their own earnings records. Parents with disabled adult children can often benefit from working with a Social Security Disability attorney to identify the more favorable option.