What Happens to Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18? (2024)

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Many disability beneficiaries are children and teenagers — about 4.4 million, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). But what happens when your disabled child reaches age 18? Does Supplemental Security Income go away, or continue? Do you need to reapply? Our Philadelphia disability benefits lawyers explore the SSI rules and regulations that take effect when abeneficiary turns 18.

What Happens to Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18? (1)

Do Disability Benefits Go Away at Age 18?

Age 18 is a milestone in life, opening up all sorts of new responsibilities and opportunities. Many things change when a teenager finally turns 18, and disability benefits are no exception.

By SSA policies, childhood benefits are meant for claimants under the age of 18 — even as young as toddlers and infants. In other words, when a beneficiary reaches this crucial threshold, childhood SSI comes to an end. If you need SSI to continue, your child will have to undergo an age-18 redetermination, unless he or she is a full-time elementary school student.

Children Turning 18 Who Received SSI Benefits

On average, about one out of every three children receiving SSI lose their benefits when they reach the age of 18. When your child turns 18, the SSA turns to a different test to determine SSI benefits eligibility. Your child will now have to qualify for SSI as an independent adult.

When a beneficiary is younger than 18, they are considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations. This condition must have lasted 12 months, is expected to last more than 12 months, or the condition will likely result in the death of the child. Because your child is not an adult, their ability to earn an income does not factor into determining eligibility. However, there is still an income limitation. This income requirement extends to family members, meaning a child could be denied SSI because of the income of their family members.

However, when your child turns 18, the threshold employed by the SSA to determine impairment changes. Now your child’s disability must result in the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA). If a person can earn a certain amount of money a month, minus some impairment-related expenses, they are considered to be engaging in SGA. The SSA sets a different amount based on the disability, with a higher amount for the blind. In 2020, the amount for a non-blind individual is $1,260, while the amount permitted for a blind person is $2,110. In 2021, the amounts will increase to $1,310 for a non-blind person and $2,190 for a blind individual.

However, while the impairment threshold becomes higher, the financial requirement for SSI benefits becomes less stringent when your child turns 18. As stated above, the SSA would consider all income from the family when determining if a child is eligible to receive SSI benefits. Once your child turns 18, the SSA will only consider the individual’s personal income and resources. As your child was most likely not working before their birthday, they should have no problems meeting the financial requirement. It is not uncommon for a child who failed to qualify for SSI because of their parent’s income to do so once they turn 18.

What Happens to Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18? (2)

Continuing Benefits for Students

If a childhood disability claimant is a full-time student, benefits continue as normal, rendering an age-18 redetermination unnecessary. In order to meet this requirement, the claimant must be enrolled full-time at a secondary or elementary school. If he or she is younger than 19 and is still attending secondary school, the SSA must receive notification in the form of a completed statement of attendance, which must be approved by a school official. At that point, SSI will continue until the student either graduates or reaches age 19 — whichever happens first.

However, if your child does not fall into this category, then he or she must go throughthe age-18 redetermination process.

Age-18 Redetermination

To quote the SSA, “Youth who initially become eligible for Supplemental Security Income under the definition of disability for children must have their eligibility redetermined upon attaining age 18, using the definition of disability for adults.”

There are two major difference between childhood and adult disability determinations:

  • Medical differences. Developing children and teenagers often do not exhibitor respond to illness the same way as their adult counterparts, hence the need for pediatricians, children’s hospitals, and so forth. For this reason, the SSA maintains a separate Listing of Impairments for adults (Part A) and children (Part B). While there is some overlap, the specific criteria tend to be significantly different between these two Listings. Furthermore, the Childhood Listing contains several conditions which are not on the Adult Listing, such as growth impairment.
  • Definition differences. Obviously, children are not expected to be employed. For this reason, the SSA’s definition of what constitutes disability for children is different than it is for adults. Whereas impairment in adults means the claimant cannot work, impairment in children means the claimant has “marked and severe functional limitations.” Under § 416.926a, “functional limitations” are divided into six categories: learning and thinking, task completion, social interaction, self-care, moving around and manipulating objects, and overall health and well-being.

The process is generally broken down into five steps:

  1. Your local social security office, or field office, will send you a notification letter.
  2. You and your child go to the field office for an eligibility interview.
  3. The claimant’s technical and medical information is reviewed by the Bureau of Disability Determination. The claimant’s future potential to independently earn income is also considered.
  4. In some cases, the claimant may be told to make a doctor’s appointment to ensure that medical information is updated and current.
  5. You will receive a letter informing you of the SSA’s decision.

Children Receiving SSDI Benefits Through Their Parents

In some cases, a child is eligible to receive SSDI benefits through a qualified parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent. Under certain circ*mstances, a child could obtain these benefits through a grandparent. If the adult qualifies for and is receiving SSDI benefits or was entitled to benefits before their death, their child could receive benefits based on the Social Security record of their parent. These types of SSDI benefits are known as dependent or auxiliary benefits. Typically, these benefits terminate when your child turns 18.

If your child is under the age of 18, they are entitled to up to 50% of your monthly benefits, subject to a maximum per family. However, these benefits are only available until your child is 18 or in high school. If they are in high school when they turn 18, the benefits will continue until their 19th birthday. Additionally, if your child marries, their benefits will stop.

SSDI For Your Disabled Adult Child

If your child is disabled, they could qualify for a category of benefits known as “adult child” benefits. These benefits are an extension of the SSDI benefits mentioned above. However, the extension is only for disabled children.

If your child is disabled before turning 18 or becomes disabled before reaching the age of 22, the benefits they received through your SSDI could continue for as long as your child is disabled. This means that as long as the parent, step-parent, or adoptive parent is eligible for, and receiving, SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits, their disabled child is eligible for dependent benefits. If the parent should die, if they were eligible at the time of their death, their child’s benefits continue. In some cases, if the parents are deceased, a disabled child could receive these benefits through their grandparents.

To qualify, your adult child must meet the SSA’s definition of an adult disability. As stated above, SSA has a different definition of child and adult disability. To qualify for SSDI auxiliary benefits under their parent’s earning record, a young adult must experience a disability that completely impairs their ability to perform any substantial gainful activity. This impairment could be either physical or mental in nature. Additionally, the impairment must be expected to result in the death of the adult child or last for a period of at least 12 continuous months.

Other qualifications include the following.

  • Your child must be over the age of 18
  • Your child must be unmarried. However, if two disabled adult children get married, it might be possible for the benefits to continue.
  • The disability must have started before the age of 22.
  • The disability must fit into the SSA’s adult definition of disability and impairment. The disability must have lasted at least 12 months, be expected to last 12 months, or is a fatal condition.
  • Your child must not be able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

These benefits are also known as a “child’s benefit” because it is based on the parent’s income and payment record. It is not necessarily based on the age of the child. In fact, in some cases, a disabled adult child could start receiving SSDI auxiliary benefits when well after they have passed their 18th or 22nd birthday. If you, a parent of a disabled child, start collecting your Social Security benefits at your retirement age, your disabled child would become eligible for their dependent benefits if they met all other requirements.

Section 301 Eligibility

If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. Fortunately, the SSA states, “The majority of redeterminations result in initial continuances,” which means you have a good chance of being approved.

However, if your child is denied, you should know that he or she may be eligible for continuing payments under Section 301. To be considered eligible for Section 301 benefits, the claimant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • He or she must be participating in either employment services, support services, or VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) services.
  • He or she must have started the program before the month his or her disability ended.
  • He or she must participate in the program for two months.
  • The SSA must determine that completing the program will decrease the likelihood of the claimant returning to disability (or blindness) benefits.

Section 301 payments will continue until the claimant either completes or stops participating in the program or until the SSA determines that continuing participation is no longer decreasing the likelihood that he or she will return to disability.

Call Our Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney to Discuss Your Child’s Benefits

Social Security benefits are often necessary to afford everyday expenses. When your child has received SSI benefits or SSDI benefits through you, losing them could result in financial hardship. If your teenager is about to turn 18 and you’re concerned about continuing SSI, an experienced Quakertown disability lawyer can help. Likewise, if your disabled child has been receiving dependent benefits through your SSDI, our office can advise you on what steps are necessary for the benefits to continue. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania today.

What Happens to Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18? (2024)


What Happens to Disability Benefits When My Child Turns 18? ›

Benefits stop when your child reaches age 18 unless that child is a student or has a disability.

What happens to disabled children when they turn 18? ›

Once your special needs child turns 18, becoming his or her “guardian” allows you to continue to meet his or her needs, the fact that he or she is now legally an adult notwithstanding. Becoming your child's guardian does not in any way alter your fundamental relationship as your child's parent.

What happens when child on SSI turns 18? ›

If you are no longer medically eligible for benefits after the age-18 redetermination, your SSI payments usually stop. However, if you are participating in an approved program of special education, vocational rehabilitation (VR), or similar services, your benefits may continue.

At what age does SSDI stop for dependents? ›

Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.

Do I have to report my child's Social Security benefits on my taxes? ›

You aren't taxed on Social Security Benefits for your Dependents. Since your child is the person with the legal right to receive these Social Security Benefits, they're only taxable to her. These benefits are reported on her return if she files a return. This is true even if the benefits are deposited in your account.

Can I claim my 18 year old disabled son on my taxes? ›

Dependents: You may be able to claim your child as a dependent regardless of age if they are permanently and totally disabled.

What can I use my child's SSI money for? ›

You may not use these monies for basic monthly maintenance costs such as food, clothing, or shelter. You must use the regular monthly SSI benefit for the child's food, clothing, or shelter. If there are any questions on use of the funds, contact your local Social Security office.

How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

To acquire the full amount, you need to maximize your working life and begin collecting your check until age 70. Another way to maximize your check is by asking for a raise every two or three years. Moving companies throughout your career is another way to prove your worth, and generate more money.

Do you get a Social Security check the month you turn 18? ›

If you qualify for Social Security benefits because you are a full-time student, you can start receiving benefits as early as age 18 and usually through the month you graduate from the 12th grade, or the month before you become age 19, whichever is earlier.

Do I get my SSI check when I turn 18? ›

When you turn age 18, we will review your eligibility for continued SSI payments based on the disability rules for adults. These include nonmedical eligibility rules pertaining to income, resources, residency, citizenship, etc. These rules are different than the rules that were applied when you were a child.

What can cause you to lose your Social Security disability benefits? ›

Two things can cause us to decide that you no longer have a disability and stop or suspend your benefits:
  • If, after completing a 9-month Trial Work Period (TWP), you work at a level we consider substantial. ...
  • If we decide that your medical condition has improved and you no longer have a disability.

At what age can I switch from SSDI to SSI? ›

At full retirement age — which is 66 and 4 months for those born in 1956, two months later for those born in 1957, and is gradually rising to 67 over the next several years — your SSDI payment converts to a retirement benefit.

What is the difference between SSI and SSDI? ›

What Is the difference between SSI and SSDI? The major difference is that SSI determination is based on age/disability and limited income and resources, whereas SSDI determination is based on disability and work credits.

Can I claim a dependent who receives SSDI income? ›

Generally speaking, if your SSI-collecting dependent meets all other regulations required, you can legally claim them. That said, you must account for these benefits when considering their living expenses.

Does SSDI count as income? ›

You report the taxable portion of your social security benefits on line 6b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR. Your benefits may be taxable if the total of (1) one-half of your benefits, plus (2) all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is greater than the base amount for your filing status.

How much do you get for a disabled dependent on taxes? ›

This credit is a total of $2,000 for each qualifying child for 2023. Other dependent tax credit— For dependents, other qualifying relatives, and even qualified dependents who are not related to the taxpayer, age 17 and older (including parents/grandparents), a credit of $500 may be available.

How much can an 18 year old make and still be claimed as a dependent? ›

Generally, the biggest hurdle to overcome by claiming an adult as a dependent is the income test. Adult dependents can't have a gross income of more than $4,400 in 2022.

How much do you get for a dependent over 18? ›

The maximum credit amount is $500 for each dependent who meets certain conditions. This credit can be claimed for: Dependents of any age, including those who are age 18 or older. Dependents who have Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification numbers.

Is there a benefit to claiming an 18 year old as a dependent? ›

Claiming your children as dependents also opens you up to other deductions, such as for child care. Tax filers who adopted a child in 2022 also are eligible for a tax credit of up to $14,890. If you claim an adult dependent, you're entitled to a nonrefundable tax credit of $500.

Does SSI monitor your bank account? ›

The SSI keeps your bank account in check because they need to monitor the money you carry inside of it constantly. Doing this is necessary because the money in your account can determine your eligibility. So yes, the money inside your bank account may disqualify you from Social Security disability benefits.

What can I spend my son's SSDI back pay on? ›

The following are examples of approved requests for expenditures from dedicated accounts.
  • Personal aids to facilitate living and learning. ...
  • Special food for children with dietary needs. ...
  • Attorney fees. ...
  • Caregiver expenses. ...
  • Transportation expenses. ...
  • Medical expenses. ...
  • Housing expenses.
May 15, 2023

How much will SSI checks be in 2023? ›

Generally, the maximum Federal SSI benefit amount changes yearly. SSI benefits increased in 2023 because there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022. Effective January 1, 2023 the Federal benefit rate is $914 for an individual and $1,371 for a couple.

What is the 10 year rule for Social Security? ›

If you've worked and paid Social Security taxes for 10 years or more, you'll get a monthly benefit based on that work.

How do I get the $16000 Social Security bonus? ›

How to Get a Social Security Bonus
  1. Option 1: Increase Your Earnings. Social Security benefits are based on your earnings. ...
  2. Option 2: Wait Until Age 70 to Claim Social Security Benefits. ...
  3. Option 3: Be Strategic With Spousal Benefits. ...
  4. Option 4: Make the Most of COLA Increases.
Apr 21, 2023

What is the highest Social Security payment? ›

3 steps to claiming the $4,555 max monthly Social Security...
  1. Step 1: Work a minimum of 35 years. ...
  2. Step 2: Earn an income equivalent to or greater than the wage cap. ...
  3. Step 3: Delay your Social Security claim until age 70.
Mar 10, 2023

What happens when you turn 18? ›

Eighteen-year-olds can own property outright, vote in an election, serve on a jury, get married, get a tattoo, gamble, and enter into binding contracts all without the oversight or consent of their parents or guardians.

Who is entitled to a deceased person's Social Security? ›

Social Security survivors benefits are paid to widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers. This benefit is particularly important for young families with children.

How old do you have to be to get full benefits from Social Security? ›

The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960 until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.

When did Social Security stop paying college students? ›

At one time, SSA did pay benefits to college students, but the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below.

What happens if you don't report changes to SSI? ›

We may overpay you and you may have to pay us back. We may apply a penalty that will reduce your SSI payment by $25 to $100 for each time you fail to report a change to us, or you report the change later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change occurred.

What is the extra money from Social Security this month? ›

To help cover the rising cost of food, housing, health care and other essentials, the Social Security Administration announced Thursday that beneficiaries would receive an 8.7-percent increase in their monthly payments.

Can a person lose their disability benefits? ›

If your health has improved to the point that you are able to work, the SSA may terminate your SSDI benefits. If you are concerned about the possibility of losing your benefits, consult with a California disability benefits attorney to discuss how to respond to a Continuing Disability Review questionnaire.

What is the downside of Social Security disability? ›

If you do not have a private disability insurance policy and you get disabled, there is a high chance that you remain without any income for several months. SSDI therefore may not be a reliable insurance policy to compensate for the lost income after getting disabled.

What are the cons of being on disability? ›

  • Disability insurance can be expensive. Coverage costs more the older you get or the more dangerous your job is. ...
  • Policies can come with exclusions that don't cover pre-existing conditions. ...
  • Waiting period. ...
  • If you never experience a disability, you won't receive benefits.

Is SSDI more than Social Security? ›

If you're comparing these two types of Social Security benefits, then you should know that typically the SSDI benefits pay more. In fact, disability in this scenario is, on average, more than double the benefits you would receive from SSI benefits. However, every individual situation may have varying results.

What is considered to be a permanent disability? ›

Permanent disability (PD) is any lasting disability from your work injury or illness that affects your ability to earn a living. If your injury or illness results in PD you are entitled to PD benefits, even if you are able to go back to work.

Can SSDI be lower than SSI? ›

It is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI if a person's SSDI benefit amount is less than the maximum SSI payment. In those cases, the person also can qualify for SSI to cover the difference between their SSDI benefit amount and the maximum SSI benefit.

Which pays more SSI or SSDI? ›

SSDI pays more compared to SSI for most people. However, both programs can provide benefits for necessary needs. If you need help from SSI or SSDI (or both), contact a Social Security Disability lawyer.

How much money can you have in the bank on Social Security Disability? ›

The SSDI program does not limit how much money you can have in the bank because there are no resource limits as you find with SSI.

Is SSDI harder to get than SSI? ›

Approval rates are higher for SSDI than SSI.

In most, but certainly not all cases, individuals who are eligible for SSDI receive more medical treatment than those eligible for SSI only, which makes it easier for SSDI claimants to prove disability.

Do I have to claim my child's SSDI on my taxes? ›

You aren't taxed on Social Security Benefits for your Dependents. Since your child is the person with the legal right to receive these Social Security Benefits, they're only taxable to her. These benefits are reported on her return if she files a return. This is true even if the benefits are deposited in your account.

Do I have to report my child's SSI on my taxes? ›

Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They don't include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which aren't taxable.

Does my child's SSI count as income? ›

I am a non-custodial parent and I receive SSI. Will it be counted as income? No. SSI is not counted as income when calculating the monthly child support order.

Do I have to pay taxes on SSDI? ›

The IRS states that your SSDI benefits may become taxable when one-half of your benefits, plus all other income, exceeds an income threshold based on your tax filing status: Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), and married filing separately (did not live with spouse) taxpayers: $25,000.

Do you have to file taxes on disability income? ›

In most cases, Disability Insurance (DI) benefits are not taxable.

What is the most hours you can work on disability? ›

Social Security typically allows up to 45 hours of work per month if you're self-employed and on SSDI. That comes out to around 10 hours per week. The SSA will also see whether or not you're the only person working for your business.

When should I stop claiming my child as a dependent? ›

To meet the qualifying child test, your child must be younger than you and either younger than 19 years old or be a "student" younger than 24 years old as of the end of the calendar year. There's no age limit if your child is "permanently and totally disabled" or meets the qualifying relative test.

Can I claim my daughter as a dependent if she made over $4000? ›

Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. Gross income is the total of your unearned and earned income. If your gross income was $4,400 or more, you usually can't be claimed as a dependent unless you are a qualifying child.

Do disabled dependents get stimulus checks? ›

Children and adult dependents claimed on tax returns within these households are also eligible for $1,400 payments, including college students and some people with disabilities, not just children under 17. Undocumented immigrants were not eligible to receive direct payments.

What happens when a special needs child turns 18 in Texas? ›

When a special needs child turns 18, no matter their medical condition, all their legal rights are automatically transferred to them. Now the child, not the parent, is allowed to make decisions.

Is a disability anyone under the age of 18? ›

If you are under 18, SSI says you are a child and have a disability if: You have a physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments. Your impairments cause severe limitations in your daily life, and. Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.

What happens when my disabled child turns 18 in California? ›

If your family gets benefits from CalWORKs, when your child turns 18 (or 19 if still in school), he or she will no longer count as a child for CalWORKs. This means your family's CalWORKs benefits may go down or stop.

Do older parents have disabled children? ›

There are higher disability rates for children born to parents under age 30, and then increasing rates of disability for parents older than 35 (for mothers) and 40 (for mothers and fathers).

How long do you have to pay child support for a disabled child in Texas? ›

According to Texas law, if a child is over 18 and the following conditions exist, child support may be ordered indefinitely: The child is not and will not be capable of self-support. The child requires substantial care and supervision. The disability existed before the 18th birthday of the child.

Can I get paid to stay home with my disabled child in Texas? ›

Texas' Community Care for Aged/Disabled (CCAD) program is a non-Medicaid (state funded) option that will pay certain family members or other loved ones for providing certain types of care and assistance.

When my child turns 18 does child support stop in Texas? ›

In Texas, court-ordered child support generally ends when the child reaches 18 years of age, graduates from high school (or turns 19), or is emancipated by marriage. However, there may be circ*mstances where a parent can request to extend their court-ordered obligations beyond these ages.

What is the youngest age to get disability? ›

HOW DOES THE SSI DISABILITY PROGRAM WORK FOR A CHILD? A child may be eligible for SSI disability benefits beginning as early as the date of birth; there is no minimum age requirement. A child may be eligible for SSI disability benefits until attainment of age 18 (see definition of disability for children).

What is the best age to apply for disability? ›

While people of all ages can be awarded disability benefits, the odds of a successful claim do increase with age. With that being said, individuals who are applying for SSDI that are ages 55 and older do have a much greater chance of being approved for disability.

At what age is it easiest to get disability? ›

While being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be difficult, once you reach the age of 55, becoming eligible for disability benefits can become easier. That's because Social Security uses additional criteria for older adults to determine disability eligibility.

Is ADHD considered to be a disability? ›

Is ADHD considered a disability? Yes, ADHD is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). There are several types of disabilities, including but not limited to: learning disability.

Can a parent get paid to care for a disabled child in California? ›

You may be eligible to receive benefits such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) in the state of California. This funding can be used to meet your child's daily needs and can help pay the expenses associated with the disability.

What is considered a disabled child for Social Security? ›

Social Security defines a disability as: The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and. The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.

What age are parents no longer responsible? ›

Parental obligations typically end when a child reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years old in most states. However, check the laws of your state, as the age of majority can be different from one state to the next.

What are the impact of a disabled child on parents? ›

Research suggests these pressures place family members at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, as well as placing significant stress on familial and social relationships.

Which parent carries autism gene? ›

Does The Father Or Mother Carry The Autism Gene? Autism was always thought to have a maternal inheritance component, however, research suggests that the rarer variants associated with the disorder are usually inherited from the father.


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