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Is my child eligible for Social Security benefits?

Is my child eligible for Social Security benefits?

Published: Mar. 4, 2022Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers cash benefits for some children with disabilities.

If you, your child’s other parent, or your child’s legal guardian receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, then all of your children (whether or not they have a disability) may be eligible for dependent or survivor benefits.

If your child’s parent or guardian has passed away and they had sufficient work history under SSA rules, then all children (whether or not they have a disability) may be eligible for dependent or survivor benefits.

In addition, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based cash benefit for children and adults with disabilities who have very low household income. Some other programs may be available to SSI recipients, including discounts on public utilities like electricity, gas, water, and phone service.

Children younger than age 18 will be considered to have an eligible disability if they have “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations.” The child’s disability needs to have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months, or is expected to shorten the child’s life span.

For more information about eligibility, check out our article Social Security Administration (SSA)/Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 101.

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