When an individual applies for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the SSA will normally look at that person’s work history to determine which type of disability benefit the applicant is entitled to. For Social Security Disability benefits, also known as SSDI, a person must have earned a certain number of work credits in order to qualify for benefits. These work credits are earned each quarter an individual works and pays taxes into the Social Security system. The question is, what happens when an individual is unable to work and has no work history due to their disability? In some cases, this is where the Disabled Adult Child’s Benefit (also known as DAC) comes into play.
So let’s say, for example, that there is an applicant who has been unable to work due to a disability that they have had since childhood. They never worked so they never received work credits and therefore they do not qualify for SSDI benefits. They may, however, qualify for DAC benefits. In order to qualify for Disabled Adult Child’s Benefits, the disability must have begun before the applicant turned 22 years of age. In addition, the disability must also meet the guidelines of a qualifying disability as set forth by the SSA.
If an individual has been disabled prior to turning 22 years of age and the disability meets the SSA’s disability guidelines, then it is possible that the individual could begin to receive disability benefits as an adult even if that individual never worked in the past. This is because, unlike SSDI benefits, DAC benefits are determined using the work record of the applicant’s parents rather than the work record of the applicant themselves. By using the parents’ work record, an earnings history can be established.
Even though the disability applicant is an adult, the benefit is still considered a child’s benefit because the benefit is paid on the parent’s Social Security earnings. Unfortunately, if the disabled individual has parents who did not work and did not earn any Social Security earnings, then the individual would not be able to qualify for Disabled Adult Child’s Benefits. This is because there would be no earnings for the benefits to be paid from. In such cases, however, an applicant may be able to receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits if the individual’s household income and assets were below the threshold set by the SSA.
Another thing to consider is that if the disabled adult becomes married, that individual would no longer qualify for Disabled Adult Child’s benefits under the Social Security program (unless the individual was marrying another disabled adult). Therefore, if an individual is trying to qualify for DAC benefits and is married, he or she will likely be denied the benefits that they are applying for.