When Lynn retired at age 65, he was still sole caretaker of Tom, his youngest son. Currently age 25, Tom has been intellectually challenged since birth. Now living on a fixed income, Lynn worried about the costs of caring for Tom now and after Lynn passes away. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may offer Tom and Lynn the extra money they need.
General SSDI Eligibility
To receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The application process can be long and frustrating. It’s important to understand how the SSA determines whether someone is disabled and eligible for SSDI benefits.
Specifically, the SSA looks at:
- Whether you have a medical condition that meets the Social Security’s disability definition; and
- Whether you have earned the right number of work credits.
An adult disabled before age 22 probably has not earned the required number of work credits. In fact, he or she may never have worked at all. However, SSDI benefits may still be available.
Eligibility for Adults Disabled Before Age 22
The SSA looks to the parents of the disabled adult after first determining the adult meets the disability requirements. The term “adult child” also includes adopted children and sometimes includes stepchildren, grandchildren, and step-grandchildren. The adult “child” must meet the following additional requirements to qualify for SSDI benefits:
- Be unmarried;
- Be age 18 or older; and
- Have a disability that started before reaching age 22.
The SSA typically will grant SSDI benefits to adults who meet these requirements. However, the adult recipient may be able to work part-time as long as monthly earnings do not exceed limits set by the SSA. For example, in 2019, adult children recipients of SSDI cannot earn more than $1,220 per month.
SSDI benefits paid to adults disabled before age 22 are considered a “child’s” benefit. Instead of relying on the applicant’s work record, the SSA pays benefits based on a parent’s Social Security record.
Were You or a Loved One Disabled Before Age 22?
Don’t automatically think you are not eligible for SSDI benefits. Discuss your case with an experienced Social Security lawyer before making a final decision.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Much of their work involves Social Security disability cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.