For parents with disabled children, caring for them often extends into their retirement years. Disabled children typically have little or no earnings, thus resulting in a failure to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based upon this unfortunate fact. An option may be Disabled Adult Child benefits, which are part of a program for adults who became disabled before the age of 22. The main advantage of this program is that is allows adult children to receive benefits based on the earnings of a parent.
When parents and disabled children consider financial assistance, they may start with the consideration of filing an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, SSI has income and asset limits that prevent parents or others from providing support for their adult children since it may jeopardize their eligibility for SSI benefits. The same result occurs if adult children receive a gift or inheritance. These issues often necessitate a special needs trust to ensure that benefits are neither reduced nor eliminated outright.
To qualify for SSI, a disabled child must:
- not be earning more than $1,130 a month in 2016 (being a child this is usually not an issue);
- have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, that result in marked and severe functional limitations; and
- have a condition that must have been disabling, or be expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months; or the condition(s) must be expected to result in death.
- SSI children cases are hard- there are basically only three mechanisms to win: meet a Listing, Equal a Listing, or Functionally Equal a Listing (one extreme limitation or two marked limitations is any of the domains). Most of these cases turn on functionally equaling a Listing.
When SSDI and SSI are no longer options, there is the category of “Disabled Adult Child”, or DAC. DAC benefits allow an adult child to receive Disability Insurance benefits (Title 2 benefits) based upon the contributions of that child’s parent into Social Security. To be eligible, the “adult child” may be an adopted child, and in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step-grandchild.
Both parent and child must meet several requirements for the child to be eligible for Disabled Adult Child benefits. The parent must be either:
- Deceased, or
- Receiving Social Security retirement benefits, or
- Receiving Title 2 Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (Supplemental Security Income benefits do not qualify).
The child must be:
- Over 18,
- Unmarried, and
- Have a disability that began before the age of 22.
Of course, the “adult child” must meet the adult disability regulations. The advantage to DAC benefits is that they may actually provide more benefits than SSI. If the adult child is already receiving SSI benefits, he or she should still determine if benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record. The result might be a higher amount of benefits as well as entitlement to Medicare. Of course, no DAC benefits would be payable if a parent never worked.
Whether you are 40, 50, or 60, the assistance of an experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. Contact the Sullivan Law Office to get the help you need in the Louisville metro area. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.