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What are the rules for adults with a disability since childhood?

When disabled children in North Carolina reach adulthood, there might be concerns as to what will happen to their Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has certain rules for people who fall into this category, and they should be understood in order to prevent unwanted consequences. For those who are receiving benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and their disability started prior to age 22, the disability and the benefits will be viewed as a “child’s” benefit since it is still on the record of the parent and their Social Security earnings.

A disabled adult must have the following to continue receiving the “child’s” benefits: one of his or her parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability, or a parent must have died and worked for a sufficient time-period to get Social Security. An adult who is disabled at 18 can also get these benefits if they received benefits as a dependent before turning 18.

The rules that apply when the SSA makes its determination for those in this category are the same as for adults. SSDI benefits for a disabled adult “child” will be ongoing for the duration of the disability. It is not necessary for the child to have worked to accrue credits in order to obtain benefits. When applying based on the adult requirements, the application will be sent to the state’s Disability Determination Services, which will make the decision as to whether the person is disabled or not.

This situation can be worrisome for parents and a disabled person who is about to turn 18. They may wonder whether they can keep getting SSD benefits based on the prior approval as a child. Fortunately, they can if the federal requirements are met. When there are issues or questions about a child who is about to turn 18 or someone age 22 who is trying to continue getting benefits under the “child” classification, a lawyer experienced in Social Security disability may be of some assistance.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Benefits For Children With Disabilities — Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for adults disabled since childhood — pages 6-7,” accessed on Oct. 23, 2017

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