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What happens to disability benefits when your child turns 18?

If your child is suffering from a serious illness or severe disability, they may be receiving Social Security disability benefits.  Children suffering from serious medical conditions (for example, HIV infection, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy) or disabilities like total deafness or blindness or severe mental retardation are eligible for disability benefits, and their families may rely on these benefits to make ends meet.


At some point your child will cease to be considered a child under the law, and will enter legal adulthood when they turn 18 years old.  Depending on their situation, this could affect their Social Security disability benefits.


When a child turns 18, the SSA uses different rules to determine if the individual is eligible for disability benefits.  A few things you need to know about the adult vs. child disability determination process:

  • The income and financial resources of family members are not included in the disability determination process.  Only the individual’s income and resources are taken into consideration.
  • If your child did not qualify for SSI payments under the age of 18 because you had too many resources or too high an income, after the age of 18 they may be eligible for benefits if their own resources are not adequate.
  • Children receiving SSI payments when they turn 18 will have their medical condition reviewed when they turn 18 to ensure they still qualify for payments under the adult disability rules.


Get help with your child’s Social Security disability application or appeal at any time by contacting our White Plains office.  Our experienced and compassionate SSDI lawyers understand the regulations and can help your child get the benefits they need and deserve.