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Assistance for Dependent Children of Disabled Adults

by Joe Whitcomb / October 21, 2016

Becoming disabled is particularly distressing for those individuals who had previously served as the sole breadwinner for their families. Such individuals often have a flurry of thoughts running through their minds, such as “How will I provide for myself? My family? My children?” Social Security disability can help. For those who qualify, it can provide financial assistance for the disabled person and their family and dependents.

Qualification for Minor, Dependent Children

Whether you and your dependent children qualify for Social Security disability benefits depends in large part on how long you worked before becoming disabled. For those with insufficient work history, Supplemental Security Income provides an alternative. Unfortunately, this alternative only provides benefits for the disabled individual, not their dependents.

For those who do qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance based on work history, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides benefits for dependent children. These are for the dependent child and in addition to the benefits the disabled individual receives in their own name.

For purposes of dependent benefits, the SSA considers biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren to be the “children” of the disabled individual. These dependents must meet two requirements to qualify for benefits: they must be unmarried and younger than 18 years old. There are a few exceptions, however; children who do not qualify because of their age may still be able to receive benefits if they are (1) under 19 years old and enrolled full time as a student in a secondary school or (2) themselves disabled and the disability occurred before the child turned 22 years old.

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How Much?

Once establishing dependent qualification, the main question applicants have is: “How much does my child actually get from the benefits? Is it enough to cover costs?” The amount of the dependent child’s benefit will be tied to how much money the disabled individual is qualified to receive as their personal benefit. The general rule of thumb is that the dependent can receive up to 50% of the amount of the beneficiary's Social Security disability benefits.

However, there is a maximum combined amount that a family can receive based on one individual’s disability benefits. The current family limit is around 150%-180% of the disabled individual’s benefit. If a family is over this limit, then each child’s benefit will be reduced proportionately to bring the family under the limit. The disabled individual’s benefit will not be reduced.

How Long?

Children of the disabled individual can generally receive dependent Social Security benefits until they are 18 years old, with extensions beyond this available under a few set circumstances.

Ready to Apply or Have Additional Questions?

This information is just the beginning. It is the basics of Social Security disability benefits for dependents of disabled individuals. There are many related issues including benefits for grandchildren dependents and adult children that may be applicable to your particular situation. To learn more about benefits for dependent children or Social Security disability generally, please contact the attorneys at the Whitcomb, Selinsky Law PC or its sister firm, the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group. Call (303)534-1958 or fill out an online contact form.

Tags: Veterans Disability Social Security Disability Law

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Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb is the founder and president of Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC (WSM). In addition, he manages the firm and heads up the Government Procurement and International Business Transactions Law sections. As a result of his military service as a U.S. Army Ranger and as a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force, he learned mission accomplishment. While serving in the Air Force, he earned his Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Master’s in International Relations. His Master’s emphasis was on National Security and International Political Economics. After his military career, Joe attended law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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