There are several different reasons why a child under the age of 18 can receive Social Security Disability payments. Often, a child will receive SSI payments because his or her parents were disabled. When a disabled parent dies, the child is eligible for up to 75% of their parents’ Social Security Disability payments. These kinds of Social Security Disability payments are known as Title II benefits, and really have nothing to do with whether or not the child is disabled in any way.
The benefits are typically paid to the child’s caregiver and are intended to be used in caring for the child while he or she is still too young to adequately care for himself. Of course, in such cases, the child will only receive those benefits until he or she turns 18. In some cases, the benefits may extend to age 19 if the child is still in high school.
Other children receive Social Security Disability payments as a result of their own disabilities. This money is generally paid to the child’s guardian as well. The qualifications for receiving Social Security Disability benefits because of a childhood condition are constantly being reviewed and revised. Once a child qualifies, however, he will continue to qualify unless it can be shown that the disabling condition has improved significantly.
All Social Security Disability cases are reviewed periodically. Typically, these reviews (called Continuing Disability Reviews) occur every three years, though they may be scheduled more or less often depending on the nature and expected duration of the disability. Children who reach adulthood (turn 18) always have a continuing disability review.
One of the reasons for this is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a different set of requirements for Social Security Disability for adults than it has for children. One of the most common examples is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This condition often qualifies children for Social Security Disability (though the requirements are a lot tougher for hyperactivity now than they were previously), but it does not generally qualify an adult to receive Social Security Disability. In such cases, it is common for a child to lose Social Security Disability benefits after he or she turns 18 years old.
When you turn 18, you will be assessed according to the current standards for adults. If you are not sure if you (or your child) will continue to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you should consider seeking the advice of a lawyer who is familiar with Social Security Disability law.
It is worth pointing out that you may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits at age 18 which you had not qualified for before. The most notable example of this is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since SSI is based upon income, many children with disabilities do not qualify (because their parents make too much money). However, when you turn 18, you may become eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
In short, you will stop receiving Title II benefits (unless you’re in school, in which case you ma receive them until you are 19). Your own disabilities will be reviewed to determine whether they meet the adult criteria for receiving Social Security Disability benefits.
If you have a child who receives Social Security Disability payments because of her own disability and she is approaching her 18th birthday, you should consider contacting a disability lawyer to see if you he or she would still be eligible for disability benefits.