Not only are adults eligible to receive Social Security benefits; in some cases, children are, too. If you have a child who is disabled or blind, the Social Security Administration has two programs that pay disability benefits: the Social Security Disability program and the Supplemental Security Income program.
Your child can be eligible to receive benefits in two different ways. The first is by applying to the Supplemental Security Income program, a program that pays monthly benefits to children who are disabled. To qualify for benefits under this program, a child must meet income and disability requirements. Your child might also be eligible to receive benefits even if he is not disabled but other requirements are met. The program Social Security Disability pays benefits to children younger than 18 years of age based on their parent's income and Social Security tax payments.
Disability Benefit Eligibility for Children
Your child can be eligible to receive disability benefits if you are his parent and you are disabled, blind or retired and receiving Social Security benefits. If your spouse was entitled to Social Security benefits because he paid Social Security tax and he has died, your child also qualifies to receive benefits. To qualify to receive benefits under these circumstances, your child must be unmarried and younger than 18 years of age. If you die and you have a disabled child who is younger than 16 years old, your spouse can receive benefits to help take care of your disabled child.
Supplemental Security Income
The Supplemental Security Income program is not funded by Social Security taxes as other Social Security programs are, but by general tax revenue. For this reason, those who have not worked and paid Social Security tax qualify to receive these benefits, among them children. Your child might be eligible to receive SSI benefits if he is younger than 18, disabled and under the income restrictions for your family. (As of 2011, if your child works, he cannot earn more than $1,000 per month.) Your child´s condition must be severe enough that it seriously limits his daily activities, and it must also be expected to last at least 12 months or lead to death.
If your child has a condition that is not expected to improve and he turns 18 years of age, he is no longer eligible to receive children's disability benefits. However, he can start receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at age 22. He must have been diagnosed with a disability before age 22, which is the case if he was receiving SSI benefits. Benefits last until your child is older than 22 years of age and is able to work on a regular basis and provide for himself.