Child and Adult Disability Benefits: What’s the Difference?


We help Utahns build winning Social Security disability cases every day. We pride ourselves on answering our clients’ questions about disability benefits. We hear many different questions, but they often revolve around similar topics. One common topic we hear about is childhood disability benefits. It is important to understand the difference between child and adult disability benefits, especially if your family is affected. In this post, we will break down some key differences between these two kinds of benefits.

The attorneys at Summit Disability Law Group are committed to helping you get the benefits you deserve. If you have additional questions after reading this post, please contact us. 

What to Know about Child and Adult Disability Benefits

Disabled children can receive Social Security in two main ways: Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

  • SSI

If a disabled child is under the age of 18, they may be able to receive SSI benefits. In order to receive them, the child must have a disability that significantly affects their ability to function. They also must not be earning more than $1,130 per month by working. The child’s disability must have limited their ability to function (or be expected to limit them) for at least one year.

One key difference here between child and adult disability benefits is that the family’s income will be considered as well. If the Social Security Administration concludes that the parents or guardians of a disabled child earn enough to support the child, the child will not receive benefits. In the case of a disabled adult, only their personal income will be considered.

  • SSDI

A disabled child can receive SSDI benefits on their parents’ record. In order for this to happen, at least one of the parents must receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits. Disabled children may also receive benefits if one or both of their parents are deceased and worked enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

These benefits are available to children who become disabled before they turn 22, and whose parents meet the above qualifications. The child will receive the benefits for as long as they are disabled.

If you become disabled as an adult, you must start your own disability claim and record. Our attorneys are experienced helping people start and win adult disability claims. We offer free initial consultations where we can discuss your case in detail.

Your Utah Disability Lawyers

We are dedicated to helping the people of Utah. If you have questions about starting a Social Security disability claim, please contact us. If you would like to learn more about the claims process, order a free copy our book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook This book will help you get started on the road to a successful disability case!


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