What Happens to My Child’s SSI When He Turns 18?

What Happens to My Child…

When a child who is receiving SSI turns 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will reevaluate your child’s claim, which can result in some individuals losing their SSI benefits. SSA regulations consider a child to be disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months and results in severe functional limitation. Once the child turns 18, however, the standard for disability becomes more difficult to meet. In order to receive disability benefits as an adult, you must show that physical or mental impairment results in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity. As a result of the change in the standard of eligibility for SSI, about one in three individuals who received SSI as a child does not receive SSI as an adult.

Another requirement for receiving SSI as a child or as an adult is financial in nature. It actually may be easier for an adult to qualify for SSi financially than a child. When measuring the child’s eligibility for SSI, SSA looks at the child’s household income, which usually consists of the child’s parents’ incomes. Once the child turns 18, SSA disregards the parents’ income and looks solely at the child’s own income and resources, even if the child is living in the parents’ household.

Additionally, a child who receives SSI and turns 18 may be able to continue receiving SSI based on the childhood standard of disability if he or she is participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation program or special education program that started prior to the child’s 18th birthday. For children who are attending school regularly, they may be able to exclude up to $1,780 per month in income for the purposes of SSI eligibility

As your special needs child becomes an adult, you will find that there are steps you need to take in order plan for your child’s future, and the rules are fairly complicated. Depending on the nature of your child’s needs, there are likely to be measures that you can take prospectively in order to protect and preserve your child’s financial situation. Since circumstances can change quickly and unexpectedly, you need an attorney who can provide you the help necessary to make the best possible decision well in advance of any unanticipated situations. At Legacy Law Center, our Ann Arbor elder law attorneys can help you through any situations that may arise as you care for your loved ones.

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