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Can Disabled Adult Children Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Young adults with disabilities may depend on disability benefits due to being too severely impaired to work. For most adults, the potential disability benefits programs they may qualify for are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Though some people with disabilities qualify for both programs, SSDI and SSI each have distinct criteria for potential recipients to qualify.

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Disabled Adult Child Benefits (SSDI)

Disabled Adult Child benefits are a specific SSDI program in which young adults who became disabled early in life can acquire disability benefits based on their parents’ earning record. Young disabled adults may be eligible for these benefits if their parents are deceased, receiving retirement payments or are on disability benefits themselves.

To qualify for Disabled Adult Child benefits, a young disabled adult must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be at least 18 years old.
  • They must be single (that is, unmarried).
  • They must have a qualifying disability that began before age 22.
  • They must meet the adult definition of disability.
  • They must not have substantial earnings.

A disabled adult child may not have worked enough to qualify for regular SSDI payments. The amount considered to be “substantial earnings” is updated yearly. The benchmark in 2023 is $1,470 per month for non-blind individuals or $2,460 per month for blind individuals.

Disabled Young Adults With Work History (SSDI)

If a young disabled adult does not qualify for DAC benefits, but otherwise meets the definition of adult disability and has qualifying work history, they may be eligible for a regular SSDI claim.

Qualifying work history is measured in “credits,” wherein a quarter of a year’s work equals one credit. Most adults need at least 20 credits of work within the past ten years prior to the onset of their disability. For younger adults, the criteria is adjusted as follows:

  • Before age 24: Within three years prior to your disability, you have to have at least 6 work credits (or 1.5 years of work).
  • Between 24 and 31: Between age 21 and the onset of your disability, you have to have worked at least half of that period. For example:
    • If you became disabled at age 25: Within about a four year period, you have to have worked at least two years (8 credits).
    • If you became disabled at age 27: Within about a six year period, you have to have worked at least three years (12 credits).
    • If you became disabled at age 29: Within about an eight year period, you have to have worked at least four years (16 credits).

Disabled Young Adults and SSI

To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, a young adult would have to be disabled and/or blind, have very little or no income, and have very little or no resources. Social Security sets different limits on income/resources depending on your living situation. For example, a single person may not make more than $1,913 per month from employment (before taxes) or get more than $934 in non-employment funds.

To meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, you cannot make (as a single adult) more than $1,470 for non-blind or $2,460 for the blind in 2023.

Consult a Social Security Disability Attorney Today

If you’re a young adult with a disability and little in the way of work history, contact a Social Security disability attorney for a free consultation. Should you choose to retain us, you do not pay us any out-of-pocket costs for our assistance with your application or appeal for Social Security disability benefits.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you are unable or no longer able to work due to a disability, you should get
the benefits that you need. Get a free case review today.

Complete our form below or call us at 833-MY-DISABILITY .