Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are a vital financial lifeline for those who are unable to continue working due to a serious illness or injury. However, many people are surprised to learn that the children of disabled adults may be eligible for benefits as well.
Children of SSDI recipients are often referred to as auxiliary beneficiaries, while the benefits they receive are known as auxiliary benefits. These benefits are funded by the taxes their parent or guardian paid while working.
About Benefits for Children of SSDI Recipients
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that families led by disabled adults face a great deal of financial strain. Providing benefits to children in these homes encourages them to continue with their education, instead of feeling pressured to obtain paid employment to help support the family.
To receive benefits with a disabled parent or guardian, a child must be one of the following:
- Under 18 years old (or 18-19 years old if they are still a full-time high school student)
- Diagnosed with a disability that occurred before the age of 22
Biological children, adopted children, stepchildren, and grandchildren are all eligible for child benefits if they are claimed as a dependent by an adult who has been approved for SSDI.
Children who qualify can receive up to half of their parent or guardian’s SSDI benefit. However, if you have multiple dependent children in the home, there is a limit of 150% to 180% of your full benefit amount. If necessary, benefits will be proportionately reduced among all qualifying children to hit this threshold.
Applying for Child Benefits
You can apply for benefits for a qualifying child on the SSA website, or you can complete the application at the time you apply for your own SSDI benefits. You will need to provide birth certificates for you and the child, as well as Social Security numbers for both you and the child. If the child is a full-time high school student over the age of 18, you’ll also need to provide proof of school enrollment.
Do You Need Help Accessing Your Social Security Disability Benefits?
Although qualifying children are unlikely to be denied benefits, working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney can help increase your chances of being approved for SSDI in a timely fashion. Contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.