There are many benefits available to disabled children and my clients who are parents with disabled children are eager to find the best benefits. We always discuss Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for the disabled child once they are 18 and the limitations surrounding receiving that benefit – the child cannot have more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets and the funds are to be used for food and shelter without contribution from any other source for those items (except an ABLE account). But there are potentially other benefits available that are not as restrictive as SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) brochure titled Benefits for Children with Disabilities is helpful in detailing the various benefits available. The 2023 version of that brochure can be found here – https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf.
The other benefit through the SSA that I typically discuss with my clients is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a child. Typically, SSDI benefits are available to those who have worked and paid into the system. If an individual becomes disabled and unable to work, then they are entitled to funds based on the amount contributed over the working years. An adult who is disabled is also eligible for SSDI benefits if one of their parents is either retired, disabled, or deceased and have worked enough quarters of coverage to qualify for Social Security benefits. The disability has to have begun by age 22 for the “child” to be eligible for the SSDI benefits. The benefits are called SSDI Disabled Adult Child (DAC) and continued so long as the adult child is disabled. A marriage may affect these benefits, so it is important to consider this issue if the adult child is contemplating marriage.
The adult child must be determined by the SSA to be disabled and the SSA brochure discusses this procedure. The brochure also discusses some other programs available to an child from SSA and it is a must read for parents with disabled children.