There are situations in which children qualify for Social Security disability benefits. This includes children who are homeless. There are two primary situations in which children may qualify for Social Security Benefits:

  • When a determination is made that a child is disabled
  • When a child has a parent who has been deemed disabled

Children and Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Children may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits when they are disabled or a parent becomes disabled. Social Security Disability Insurance covers adults who have been working accumulate “credits” in a manner similar to what occurs in regard to Social Security retirement payments. By extension, the children of an adult that qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI, may be able to obtain payments as well.

Children and Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is an alternative disability program for people who are economically disadvantaged. This program for low-income or no-income people is available to people who are homeless.

When Children Qualify for Disability Benefits

As just discussed, there are two different types of Social Security disability benefits programs for which children may qualify. Each program has its own qualifiers.

If a child has a parent deemed to be disabled, that parent may be able to obtain benefits through the SSDI program if he or she has been employed. In such a situation, a minor child may be able to obtain benefits as well. The theory is that because a parent is disabled, that person’s ability to provide for his or children is impaired.

If a child becomes disabled and his or her family is categorized as low-income that young person may qualify for benefits through the SSI program. In order to qualify for benefits, a child’s family must have an income of less that $1,060 and assets less than $3,000.

When a child reaches the age of 18, he or she is no longer eligible for disability benefits in the manner just discussed. When it comes to benefits received because of the disability of a parent rather than a child’s personal disability, that financial compensation terminates when a child turns 18.

If a child is disabled and reaches the age of 18, that young person will need to apply for SSDI benefits directly. A child’s SSDI compensation will be based on his or her parent’s work credits, if they have been employed.

If a child is disabled and is in a low-income family as described a moment ago, that young person would be able to apply for SSI assistance once reaching the age of 18. When applying, the child would need to meet the income and asset limitations for the program, as also were discussed a moment ago.

How Disabled Children Quality for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration established what it self-describes as strict guidelines for a child to be able to qualify for financial benefits based on his or her alleged disability. In order to qualify for benefits based on an allegation of disability, a demonstration needs to be made that a medical impairment exists that impairs his or her ability to engage in essential activities of daily living. By way of illustration, a child would have to have a level of disability that if present in an adult would prevent that adult from engaging in substantial gainful employment.

The disability must be demonstrated to have existed for a set period of time before applying for assistance was filed. In the alternative, the disability must be of such a nature that it is expected to ultimately result in death.

If a child is disabled and reaches the age of 18, in order to continue to receive disability benefits, a child is going to have to demonstrate the impact of that impairment in the same way an older person would do when applying for assistance. A newly turned 18-year-old person would need to demonstrate that he or she cannot maintain gainful employment at this time, is not likely to be able to obtain and undertake gainful employment any time in the future, or is afflicted with a medical condition that is expected to result in death at some juncture in time.

Legal Assistance and Social Security Disability Benefits for Children

Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits for children can prove to be particularly challenging. There are attorneys who can assist a child in obtaining Social Security disability benefits. This includes lawyers who advocate for the homeless of the unhoused population. There are attorneys that work on behalf of homeless people on a pro bono basis. In other words, they do not charge a fee for services.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is an example of an organization that assists unhoused individuals and families in accessing much-needed resources. This includes assisting disabled homes men, women, and children in obtaining financial assistance as a consequence of suffering from a disability of some sort.