The role of the Social Security Disability Insurance program is to aid those that have become disabled after having worked for a specific period of time. Although the typical SSDI recipient has worked for a considerable amount of time prior to becoming disabled, an adult who became disabled before the age of 22 can also apply for SSDI if their parent meets certain requirements utilizing the Disabled Adult Child Program.

SSDI benefits are based on the beneficiary’s pre-disability income, the size of their family, and the amount they have contributed to the Social Security system. Typically, a beneficiary must have contributed to the Social Security system for at least ten years prior to becoming disabled. Due to this requirement, the majority of individuals who become disabled before the age of 22 are unable to meet the qualifications for SSDI on their own.

However, it is important to note that in certain instances, they may qualify for SSDI based on their parents’ job history. This is attainable under the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) program of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Learning More about The Disabled Adult Child Program

For participation in the Disabled Adult Child Program or DAC program, the following requirements must be met:

  • The disabled adult child must have a disability that meets the SSA’s stringent adult disability requirements.
  • This individual must be at least 18 years old and may be an adopted child, stepchild, grandchild, or stepgrandchild. 
  • They must be legally single and unmarried.
  • Their impairment must have occurred prior to their 22nd birthday.
  • The potential beneficiary’s parent must have paid into the Social Security system for a sufficient length of time to qualify for full retirement coverage.
  • Lastly, the potential beneficiary’s parent must be deceased, permanently disabled, or receiving Social Security retirement payments at present.

If an adult child with a disability and their parent meet all of these requirements, the adult child should be eligible for a large benefit, often greater than an SSI award. In addition to the monetary advantage, a disabled adult child does not need to worry about their own unearned income or assets, as SSDI does not consider these.

However, if the adult child with a handicap gets income through employment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may rule that they are no longer disabled and terminate their SSDI payments. Monthly earnings cannot exceed $1,350 ($2,260 if the handicap is blindness).

The child’s receipt of SSDI has no effect on the parent’s own retirement benefits. In addition, the adult child with a disability may be eligible for SSI benefits provided their SSDI payments, which are considered unearned income for SSI purposes, do not disqualify them.

Preparing For Your Child’s Future Through Social Security Disability Insurance

Parents of a child with a disability who believe that their child may qualify for SSDI in the future should consider having their child screened for disability by the Social Security system well before their child reaches the age of 22, and well before the parents begin receiving their own Social Security benefits.

In any case, it is advisable for the child’s doctor to begin keeping careful notes about the child’s handicap as early as feasible. Thus, when the parents retire and begin receiving Social Security, the child will have extensive documentation of the disability up to age 22, making the SSDI application process simpler.

How Disability Associates Can Help

At Disability Associates, LLC, managed by attorney Tracy N. Pate, our team provides legal representation to disabled individuals who need assistance in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income Benefits. Think of us as your guide to Social Security Disability Law! If you have questions related to qualifying for disability benefits through parent word records please contact our office today via the link below!