There are two types of childhood disability benefits. One is for children who are under the age of 18 and the other is for the disabled children of workers who have turned 18 years of age.
If a child is under the age of 18 and is determined to be disabled according to Social Security guidelines, he or she may be eligible for SSI benefits. The SSI program is a needs-based program and a family cannot have an income of greater than $1,060 and assets of greater than $3,000 in order to qualify (if applying as a couple). If the financial and disability criteria are met, the disabled child can receive these childhood disability benefits until they reach 18 years of age.
If a child who is disabled reaches 18 years of age they will no longer be eligible for the childhood disability benefits described above. In this case, the child would have to apply for Social Security Disability benefits based on the work credits of his or her parents.
In order to qualify these childhood disability benefits, the child must have become disabled prior to age 22, must be over the age of 18 and must not be married. If the child’s parents do not have a work history or have not earned enough work credits, the child will be unable to qualify for benefits. If, however, the child’s parents do have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, then the child can receive SSDI benefits under the parents’ work record.
In addition to meeting the work credit eligibility criteria, the child must also meet the SSA’s criteria in terms of a disabling condition. Whether or not a disability is present will be determined according to the rules of the regular Social Security Disability program.