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Central New York Bankruptcy Bar Association
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Social Security for Adult Children

Under the Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, the Social Security Administration provides benefits for disabled children.

Social Security Disability benefits for adult children

To be defined as an adult child, an individual must meet the SSA’s definition of adult disability before the age of 22. The individual must also be unmarried and older than 18. If a parent is deceased or is receiving, or eligible to receive, disability benefits, his or her adult child may qualify for SSDI benefits. This “child’s benefit,” as it is referred to, is determined by the Social Security earnings of the parent.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for disabled children under the age of 18

Disabled children 18 and under may be eligible for SSI benefits regardless of whether their parents have contributed enough to qualify for SSDI benefits. Social Security defines a disabled child as one who has physical, mental or emotional conditions that severely limit his or her ability to function. These conditions must be present for at least 12 months, likely to last longer than 12 months or have resulted in death in order to qualify. There are also income and resource caps, which may prevent families or children from receiving SSI benefits.

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