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 Article of Interest - Social Security

Social Security for Parents: Benefits for Disabled Children

from the Social Security Administration

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A child who is disabled may depend on your help for the rest of their lives. Social Security has two programs that pay disability benefits to disabled children: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


If you retire, become disabled, or die, Social Security benefits may be paid to your children over 18 who have been disabled before the age of 22 and continue to be disabled. Social Security benefits for disabled children may continue as long as they are unable to work because of their disability. (Remember, Social Security benefits to all other children stop at age 18).


Social Security makes payment under the SSI program to disabled children under 18 whose families have little income and resources. SSI payments are based on need rather than prior work and may be paid to children regardless whether a parent is retired, disabled, or has died. These benefits also continue as long as the child is disabled and has little income or resources.


A child under 18 is considered disabled if his or her physical or mental condition is so severe that it results in marked and severe functional limitations. The condition must last or be expected to last at least 12 months or be expected to result in the child's death. And of course, the child must not be working at a job that we consider to be substantial work.


Under both Social Security and SSI, children 18 or older are considered disabled if they meet the adult definition of disability, i.e., their condition must be severe enough to prevent them from doing any kind of work for which they are suited.


For more information on disability benefits for children, you may download the booklet, Benefits for Children with Disabilities (Publication No. 05-10026) or the booklet SSI (Publication No. 05-11000). You should also check the web page Youth With Disabilities.


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