Social Security Benefits

Previous Topic: Assistive Technology

Next Topic: Acronyms and Glossary

Most minors who receive a benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA) receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs based program to provide for the person with disability's basic living expenses, such as food, shelter and clothing. A person does not need to have a work history to receive SSI.

Unlike SSI, SSDI is an insurance program. When an individual works, they pay into the system, and when needed, the individual and their dependents receive a benefit. Youth who receive a SSDI benefit usually receive it based on the work record of a parent or grandparent who paid into the system, and is now disabled, retired or deceased. A minor need not be disabled to receive SSDI. Youth who are not disabled can continue to receive benefits until 2 months after age 19 if still enrolled in secondary or elementary school. Youth who are considered disabled under the adult definition can continue to receive SSDI payments after they turn 18 for so long as they remain disabled.


Disability Definition for a Child

A minor is considered disabled for SSA purposes based on how a physical or mental condition or illness affects development and functioning in typical daily environments (i.e., school, home, community). At age 18, a review is scheduled to determine whether or not the condition or illness meets the SSA definition of disability for an adult.