Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Children: Applications & Benefits Explained

It is important to be aware of the regulations and rules surrounding SSI disability for children.

Knowing the accessible benefits, how to apply for this, and what to expect is important when you intend to start an application for SSI for children.

Disability Benefits Available: SSI For Children

Children that are classified as disabled can collect SSI. Children with retired or disabled parents could also collect Social Security dependent benefits.

There are three major ways that a child is able to collect SSI disability benefits or Social Security disability benefits. These refer to cash benefits for the children of retired or disabled workers.

For those children who do not qualify for SSI for kids due to being younger than age 18 and having a parent currently getting Social Security disability income or Social Security retirement benefits, those young adults could collect dependent benefits for SSI for children based on the records of the parents regardless of whether or not the parents are disabled.

For low-income disabled children, Supplemental Security Income benefits are available until the children reach age 18, at which point the child becomes eligible to begin collecting adult SSI benefits.

Those children who are approved for SSI disability could also receive Medicaid payments. For adults who have been disabled since childhood and disabled children who are older than 18 but become disabled prior to age 22, disability benefits could be paid if the parent is already collecting Social Security retirement income or Social Security disability income.

SSDI Benefits for Adult Children or a Disabled Young Adult

This category of benefit payments is also referred to as “Adult Child Benefits,” and is an extension of dependent benefits available only to disabled children.

For a child disabled at the time of turning age 18, or for any young adult who develops a  disability prior to age 22, the Social Security dependent benefits previously available to them could go on so long as the person still meets disability requirements, even if the step-parent/adoptive parent or parent is receiving their own Social Security disability/retirement benefits.

What is the Adult Disability Definition for SSI for Kids?

In order to obtain SSDI benefits for disabled young adults, the young adult has to meet the official disability definition to receive a child’s benefit. This is referred to as a child’s benefit since it is based on the earning record of the parent.

These SSI for children benefits could begin if the child is older than age 18 or at age 22 if the disabled child’s parent does not begin collecting Social Security disability benefits until retirement.

SSI or SSDI for Disabled Adults

A young adult or an adult who gets disabled older than age 22 must have low enough assets and income to qualify for SSI or rely on their individual earnings record to obtain SSDI benefits.

Social Security Dependents Benefits

Whether or not a child is disabled, they could be qualified to receive Social Security benefits if the adoptive parent, step-parent, or parent is already receiving disability benefits or retirement benefits through Social Security.  If that parent passed away but was entitled to one of those benefits before they died, the child could also collect these dependent benefits.

When a child receives benefits through the Social Security record established by the parent, these might be referenced as dependents’ benefits or auxiliary benefits. A child is eligible to receive no more than 50% of the monthly benefit the parent would have been entitled to.

There is also a family maximum limit based on the disabled person’s benefits. This is usually no more than 180% of the SSDI benefit given to the qualifying person.

What Happens When a Child Reaches Age 18?

When a child who has been receiving Supplemental Security Income disability benefits turns 18, the agency will reevaluate them as adults. This is referenced as “Age 18 Redetermination,” and this process is different, or evaluating adult applications for disability versus SSI for kids.

The assessment differences are most important for children who qualified for SSI due to their inadequate functioning in six domains. Adults who don’t meet a specific listing requirement could be given disability benefits if their mental or physical limitations affected their ability to do work activities.

Are There Financial Requirements for Child SSI Benefits?

Social Security looks at the income of the parent with whom the child lives. If the family unit also includes a stepparent, that person’s income is taken into consideration. The child has to meet the SSI income limit to continue with the application process.

SSI requires that an applicant has limited income and few assets. Currently, SSI recipients must have less than $2,000 in assets for one person and less than $3,000 for a couple.

What Role Do Listings Have on the Receipt of SSI Benefits for a Child?

A child could illustrate applicable medical disability in one of two ways when applying for SSI child benefits.

The first is by showing that their condition meets a disability listing requirement. The second is claiming that the applicant should receive SSI for children with disability issues because of the impairments “functionally equal” the listings due to the child’s limitations.

For SSI benefits for a disabled child, there are 14 different listings in the Social Security “blue book” that explain the impairments that could qualify a child for disability benefits.

For those children who are receiving SSI due to equaling or meeting requirements of a listing, there’s a good chance they will be able to use that same listing for benefit payments as an adult. Sometimes, however, there will be a child listing for impairment but no corresponding adult listing. An attorney’s insight could be helpful with this process.

What Does the Inability to Work in Functional Equivalency Have to do with SSI Benefits?

A child could be rated as having marked or severe impairments in at least one aspect of their functioning. As an adult, these children who do not meet a direct listing must be able to show that they are unable to work in order to receive what is known as a medical vocational allowance.

What Does Social Security Consider in Determining Whether or Not a Child Has an Ability to Work?

The Social Security Administration looks at numerous factors to decide whether or not a child has an ability to work, including functioning and educational programs, work-related stress, community experiences, and on-the-job training.

Contact Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo To Learn More About SSI For Kids

We are diligent about doing whatever we can do as Social Security lawyers for children in the State of Pennsylvania.

Contact us today at (844) 243-4836 to determine if your eligible for supplemental security income for children.