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What should you know about SSI and SSDI benefits for children?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Disability claim applications |

Disability benefits can play a pivotal role in supporting children with special needs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide financial aid that can offset the cost of care and support a child’s quality of life. Understanding these programs is the first step in maximizing the benefits your child will receive if they’re approved. 

While the Social Security Administration manages both, these programs serve different purposes and have distinct eligibility criteria. They provide a financial cushion, enabling families to meet their child’s unique needs better. These programs aren’t quick fixes for financial assistance because the approval process can be lengthy.

What benefits are available through SSDI?

Before a child turns 18, they can only receive Social Security benefits as a dependant of a parent who is disabled, retired or deceased – regardless of their own disabilities. 

Once a disabled child turns 18, however, they may be eligible for DIsabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits on that parent’s Social Security record. This requires the young adult to go through the normal disability approval process.

What benefits are available through SSI?

SSI is a means-tested program that provides financial assistance to individuals with limited income and resources, including children with disabilities. Its rules are not the same as SSDI, so benefits are often awarded to children with severe physical, emotional and developmental problems.

To qualify, not only must the child be disabled, but there has to be an evaluation of the household income in order to determine if the child’s means, counting parental income and deeming, are below the allowable limits.

The path to maximizing benefits

Navigating the complexities of SSDI and SSI can be challenging, but understanding the specifics of each program can lead to better utilization of these resources by families who need the assistance. You must ensure you understand your options and advocate for your child’s needs. Having someone on your side is beneficial if you have to file an appeal about a denial that is incorrect.