The Social Security system can be tricky to navigate. With an almost endless amount of applicant circumstances to account for, the Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains explicit qualifications to define who, in each scenario, is eligible for benefits, and this may depend on a number of factors.

It can be difficult to weed through the massive amount of information provided by the administration to determine whether your disability or circumstance makes you eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) compensation.

In cases of adult children, understanding the exact eligibility requirements for SSDI is critical to ensuring every advantage is being taken to secure their benefits.

The SSA defines applicants above the age of 18 as adult children, and these applicants must prove a few requirements before SSDI can be extended beyond 18 years of age. A child’s disability does not need to be considered if they are receiving benefits as a dependent of an adult receiving SSDI before this age. After 18, the following rules apply:

  • The child must have a disabling impairment that began before age 22;
  • The child’s disability must meet the definition of disabling conditions used for adults.

Adult children may be adopted children, or even step or grandchildren. Because the child is collecting benefits on a parents Social Security record, it is not necessary that they ever worked or paid into the Social Security system themselves.

If an adult child plans to collect SSDI benefits they may work but cannot have substantial earnings. The SSA defines substantial earnings as an income above $1,070 per month for 2014.

Consider the following example for clarity: A male worker begins collecting Social Security at age 63. His 29-year-old daughter, who has suffered cerebral palsy since birth, may receive benefits on her fathers record.

Meeting the requirements as a disabled adult child is an ongoing necessity, however. If the child gets married, the benefits will typically end. There are cases under which these benefits are protected, such as a marriage between two people receiving disability. Generally, the benefits will continue in this event.

As with other SSDI requirements, these rules may vary upon the situation. Consulting with a Social Security Disability attorney is often the most direct way to understand which rules apply to you and your family. Goldberg Finnegan’s legal team offers free case evaluations to those who have questions about the SSDI process. If you need help applying or would like to appeal your benefit decision, our attorneys can answer your questions today.

To take the first step, contact Goldberg Finnegan Law at (888) 213-8140 or fill out our FREE case evaluation form.