Benefits for Children

By: Disability Group

Are children entitled to disability benefits?

Pursuant to the Social Security Administration Code, while disabled, children are eligible for SSI benefits based on their disabilities.  Non-disabled children may also be eligible for auxiliary benefits based on the insured status of a disabled parent.

These benefits extend to biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren.  In addition, dependent grandchildren and step-grandchildren may be eligible for Title II (SSDI) disability benefits by way of their disabled grandparent’s earning records.

To qualify, the child must be either:

  1. Under age 18, or
  2. Under age 19, and enrolled in primary or high school full time

However, the disability benefits will end either once the child turns 18, finishes school, or in any other way stops attending school full time.  If the child is still in high school on his/her 18th birthday, benefits will end either the day the child graduates, or 2 months after turning 19. Benefits will also end if the child is paid by an employer to go to school, joins the workforce, or gets married.

How much is a non-disabled child entitled to receive under Title II?

A child is eligible to receive up to one-half of a living parent’s full retirement or disability benefit. On the other hand, if the parent is deceased, the child may receive up to 75 percent of the deceased parent’s benefit.

Can a disabled child collect disability despite a lack of work history?

If the disability began prior to age 22, disabled adult children may also collect DIB benefits despite lack of work history. While the disabled adult child may be eligible for SSI, Title II may allow for additional benefits based on an eligible parent’s earning record. In this case, the amount the disabled adult child receives may be greater under Title II than under Title XVI.  This is because SSI payments are reduced by resources and unearned income received by a recipient.