Will My Children Receive Benefits if I Go on Disability?

Parents that are on or considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) often don’t know that their children may be eligible for benefits, too. Dependent children that meet certain criteria may be eligible for benefits.

A disability that stops a parent from working may also provide your child, if they’re under 18 years old, to receive a monthly cash benefit.

Keep in mind that this benefit called an “auxiliary benefit,” is not available to the children of parents that collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Eligibility for Auxiliary Benefit

Your children have a right to receive auxiliary benefits, and the eligibility requirements for a child to receive these benefits are as follows:

  • The child is under the age of 18
  • Children born out of wedlock will require paternity to be proven
  • The child must be financially dependent on the parent
  • The child must be unmarried

The dependent can be related to the parent in several ways to be eligible, including:

  • Adoption
  • Stepchild
  • Biologically
  • Grandchild (when no living parent exists)
  • Stepgrandchild (when no living parent exists)

Parents should seek medical care as soon as an injury or disability presents itself. It’s essential to start having medical requirements in place to bolster your chances of a disability claim being approved.

“Disability examiners depend on medical records when making their determination of disability. If the examiner has no records to review that establish the cause, severity, and impact of the alleged disability, then it is difficult for them to make an accurate determination. In situations where the individual has not been to a physician, the SSA will schedule and pay for a consultative exam with a private physician,” states disability attorney Rick L. Moore.

Disabled Children and Benefits

Disabled children may not have worked and accrued Social Security credits, but this doesn’t mean that the child isn’t eligible to receive benefits. A minor can draw benefits based on his or her parent’s earnings record.

The child can draw SSDI benefits until they’re 18 years old, but there is an exemption.

A child that has become disabled prior to the age of 22 can continue to draw benefits off of their parent’s earnings. This allows the child to continue to receive benefits until laws change or until they’re no longer eligible due to income or death.

Survivor Benefits are an Option

Parents that die while receiving SSDI leave the option of survivor benefits to their children. These benefits can also be received if the parent has enough credit to claim retirement benefits before their death.

The benefits from survivor’s benefits may be higher than the benefits offered through SSDI, so it’s essential to know your child’s options before applying for benefits.

Applying for benefits on behalf of a child requires you to have the child’s:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security number

You may need to provide additional information based on your circumstances.

Children will often be able to claim up to 50% of their parent’s total SSDI benefit. So, if you receive $1,000 in benefits, your child may be able to receive $500 in benefits. There is a total limit of 150% – 180% of the individual’s benefit that can be drawn by a family.