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Social Security Disability for Children: What You Need to Know

by Ryan Kinnar5 min read
social security disability for children

If you are qualified to receive Social Security disability benefits, your children may also receive benefits on your behalf. Social Security disability for children provides benefits to a biological child, stepchild, adopted child, or a grandchild who is a dependent.



 According to the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, a child should meet the following requirements in order to receive Social Security disability benefits or SSDI:


  • Child should be 18 years of age or below, or
  • Aged 18 to 19 years old but is a full-time student (no higher than grade 12), or
  • Aged 18 years and above but has disability that started before the child turned 22 years old.


Social Security disability benefits typically stop when children turn 18 years old, provided if they are disabled. But if a child, who is aged 18, is still studying full-time, at a secondary or elementary school, then he/she will continue to receive benefits until two months after he/she turns 19 years old or until he/she graduates, whichever comes first.


Social Security Disability for Children Benefit Amount

Each qualified child within your family may be given up to 50% of your full disability benefit amount every month. But there is a limit in the amount of benefit you child can receive.


The benefit would depend on your disability benefit amount and how many people within your family are eligible to receive benefits. While total amount may vary, generally, SSA can provide up to 150% to 180% of your disability benefit to your family.


If the total amount of your disability benefits is greater than the family limit, the amount of benefits that will go to your family will be reduced proportionally, but your benefit amount will not be affected.


Social Security Disability Benefits for a Disabled Child

Social Security disability for children also includes benefits for a disabled child. When it comes to disability benefits for a dependent disabled child, the SSA does not decide based on the child’s disability. Generally, benefits will stop if the child reaches the age of 18, provided he/she meets the above-18 conditions stated above.


A disabled child who is above 18 years old may receive disability benefits on your record if the following requirements are met:


  • Disability should have started before age 22
  • He/she should meet Social Security’s definition of disability for adults


An adult dependent who became disabled before age 22 may be qualified to receive child’s benefits if a parent is under disability benefits, receiving retirement benefits, or is deceased.


Working Adult Child

To be eligible for benefits, a disabled adult child should not have substantial earnings. Social Security considers an adult child’s work “substantial” if the amount he/she earns exceeds $1,170 per month.


While working, the disabled adult child may incur certain expenses related to disability. These expenses will be excluded from the income.


Disabled Adult Child Receiving Disability Benefits

 If an adult child is already receiving disability benefits for his/her own record, SSA will check if benefits may still be payable on the earning record of a parent. According to SSA, there are instances where a person disabled since childhood has already received insured status on his/her own record, and he/she receives higher benefits on a parent’s record.