For parents who have a disabled child, providing financially for the child during both youth and adulthood is a top concern. Social Security benefits can be an important resource for these families, but many parents in Las Vegas, Nevada, may not understand what kind of benefits their child qualifies for. Depending on age and the extent of the disability, disabled children may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income.
SSI for disabled children
Children under age 18 are not eligible for SSD benefits, but they may qualify for SSI. These benefits are awarded when a child has minimal financial resources and suffers from a condition that significantly limits his or her activities. The condition must last longer than 12 months or be expected to result in death. Conditions expected to improve must be re-evaluated every three years.
Minor children who can perform some form of work in spite of their conditions are still eligible for SSI. The SSA even sponsors work programs to help young people who receive SSI benefits and wish to work. The SSA will not count most of the child’s income or savings when calculating the SSI payment amount, especially if the child is a student.
Benefits for adult children
Once a disabled child turns 18, the SSA uses different standards to determine eligibility for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. For SSI eligibility, the resources of the child, rather than his or her family, are considered. The child’s disability is evaluated using the standards for adults. In addition to lasting over 12 months or being expected to result in death, the condition must preclude the child from substantial gainful activity. This is defined as employment yielding monthly income over $1,070.
Disabled children older than 18 who meet these criteria may qualify for SSD child’s benefits. To be eligible, an adult child must have a parent currently drawing on Social Security benefits or a deceased parent who qualified for benefits. The child’s benefits are based off of the earning record of the qualifying parent, so it does not matter if the child has never worked.
There are three ways a disabled adult child may prove he or she cannot work. The child may have a condition that appears on the SSA’s list of recognized impairments. If the child’s condition is unlisted but “medically equivalent” to a list condition in terms of impairments, the child may qualify. Finally, an assessment of the child’s Residual Functional Capacity may show the disability precludes gainful employment. Parents who are uncertain about the best means of establishing the child’s disability should consider speaking with an attorney about navigating the application process.