Children of people with Social Security can receive benefits in many ways. The most well-known benefits for biological children, adopted children and dependent stepchildren become available when a parent retires, becomes disabled or dies. In these cases, the children must meet certain requirements:
- The child must have a Social Security number.
- The child must be younger than age 18, or 18 to 19 years old and a full-time student.
- The child must be unmarried.
Less commonly known, children may qualify for childhood disability benefits beyond the age of 18 if a parent who qualifies for Social Security starts receiving retirement or disability benefits or dies. As explained in the Disability Planner presented by the Social Security Administration (SSA), childhood disability benefits are based on the parent’s Social Security earnings record. Disabled adult children qualify for these benefits as long as they became disabled before age 22 and are unmarried.
Just as adults applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits must provide detailed documentation supporting their conditions, individuals who apply for adult child disability benefits need to fully substantiate their claims, subject to SSA approval. Your chances for initial approval typically increase when you enlist support from an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you gather documentation and file a comprehensive application. In the event your initial claim is denied, your lawyer can guide you through the reconsideration process, as well as all required levels of appeal.
When you and your children qualify for disability benefits, you always have the option of applying for benefits on your own. However, even one relatively minor error or omission can easily result in claim denial and unnecessary delays. The assistance of a knowledgeable attorney can significantly expedite your receipt of benefits.