1207978_sParents who have a disabled child may find it difficult to provide for the child’s care while keeping up with other financial obligations. When disabled children reach the age of legal adulthood but are unable to support themselves, it can be even more challenging for their parents to meet their needs. Fortunately, disabled adult children in Illinois may be able to draw on child’s Social Security disability benefits to help offset the cost of their care.

Criteria for qualifying

Normally, applicants for SSD benefits will only qualify if they have spent enough time working while paying Social Security taxes. However, a disabled adult child does not need to have worked or paid taxes to the Social Security Administration. The child can qualify based on a parent’s earning record if the parent is deceased, or if the parent is currently drawing on retirement or disability benefits. The child may be awarded up to half the amount of benefits the parent receives if qualifying criteria are met.

To be eligible for SSD benefits, a disabled adult child must be older than 18. To qualify for child’s benefits, the child must have become disabled before the age of 22. Additionally, the child’s disability must prevent him or her from performing “substantial gainful activity.” For 2014, the SSA defines substantial gainful activity as work with monthly earnings exceeding $1,070. The limitations imposed by the child’s disability are evaluated with the same criteria the SSA uses to evaluate the disability of adults who were injured after turning 22.

Other sources of support

Disabled adult children who worked and paid taxes before becoming disabled may qualify for SSD benefits based on their own history of employment. However, if an adult child, who has worked, is also eligible to receive benefits based on a parent’s earning record, this arrangement may be more beneficial. Benefits based on a parent’s earnings will usually be more substantial, since the parent has worked longer and paid more in taxes. If an adult child is eligible for both types of benefits, parents should carefully compare both options.

Some disabled adult children may already receive Supplemental Security Income benefits, which are awarded to people with disabilities whose assets and income fall below a certain threshold. Receiving SSI benefits does not preclude an adult child from qualifying for SSD benefits. The adult child may even be able to obtain Medicare entitlement and a more substantial award through child’s benefits, which makes applying for these benefits worthwhile.

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