How Can Disabled Adults Obtain Disability Benefits If They Have Never Worked?

When an adult worker suffers a disabling injury or has a disabling impairment and can no longer work, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help provide some financial relief. However, when children are disabled, many parents wonder what they can do to obtain the benefits they need and what happens when a child with a permanent impairment becomes an adult.

While SSD was designed to help adult workers, the system has not left disabled children without any means of support. Children under age 18 can qualify for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program if they are disabled and if they have limited income and resources. When a disabled child becomes an adult, they may become eligible for disabled adult child’s benefits.

Adults who become disabled before age 22 are eligible for adult child’s benefits if their parent is deceased or receiving disability or retirement benefits. Even though the adult child has never worked, the benefits are paid based on the Social Security earnings of his or her parent or parents. To qualify, the disabled adult must be unmarried, age 18 or older and have a disability that started before he or she turned 22 years old. In addition, the adult child must not have substantial earnings, which are determined by a number set each year by the Social Security Administration. In 2013, substantial earnings are anything exceeding $1,040 per month. Disabled adult children may qualify for benefits, even if they already receive disability or SSI benefits.

If you or your child has a permanent or long-term disability that affects the ability to earn an income, a disability attorney in Orlando can help you file a claim for benefits and help you appeal if your claim is unfairly denied.

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