The Social Security Administration administers two disability benefit programs. Children of adults who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits do not receive benefits through their parent’s disability claims. To receive Supplemental Security Income, that child must also be disabled and meet the government’s income requirements. However, children may qualify for dependent disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
Supplemental Security Income
The Social Security Administration provides federal government benefits to low-income individuals with permanent disabilities and low-income adults 65 and older. Disabled individuals can receive cash assistance to pay for their living expenses and may qualify for the Medicaid health insurance program and federal Food Stamps program. To qualify, disabled individuals must meet the federal poverty guidelines and suffer a long-term disability that precludes the individual from finding gainful employment. Disabled children in low-income households also qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance
The Social Security Administration also administers the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Only permanently disabled individuals with enough federal work credits can qualify for this program, regardless of income. Since the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid through employment contributions, the disabled adult must have contributed a sufficient amount of earnings into the Social Security Disability Benefit pool. Generally, an adult must work full-time for at least two years to qualify for disability benefits through this program.
Differences Between Programs
The Social Security Administration does not base Supplemental Security Income benefits eligibility on income earnings and work credits. Applicants must show need, limited income and evidence of disability to qualify. Disabled adults who have not earned a sufficient amount of work credits can only qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Qualified dependents of adults receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can receive limited benefits when the recipient dies. The percentage of survivor benefits depends on the recipient’s benefit allowance. Typically, children can receive monthly benefits of up to 50 percent of the total benefits their parents received. Additionally, spouses can also qualify for limited benefits. When spouses and children receive benefits, the Social Security Administration limits their allowance to 80 percent of the recipient’s benefit allowance. Children can qualify for benefits if they are younger than 18 and unmarried. Children can be the recipient’s natural child, stepchild or adopted child. Children who are over 18 can receive benefits up to age 19 if they are full-time, unmarried elementary or high school students. Children who are over 18 can also receive derivative benefits if they have permanent disabilities that occurred before they turned 22. Benefits will continue until the child reaches age 18, finishes high school or turns 19. Disabled children may receive benefits until they are no longer disabled.
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