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How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay Per Child?

You may not immediately think of children as beneficiaries of Social Security disability, but the Social Security Administration reports paying $4.8 billion in benefits last year to four million children of parents who were deceased, disabled, or retired. That was in addition to the benefits the SSA paid to children who were disabled or blind and qualified for benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program.

Eligibility standards for a child to receive benefits vary, as does the amount paid, depending on the particular circumstances. The following information may help you get a better understanding of benefits to children, but the best source for guidance to determine how much would Social Security disability pay per child in a specific situation is to consult with an experienced Social Security disability advocate at London Disability.

Benefits available for children of disabled parents

When one or both parents of a child qualify for Social Security disability benefits, family benefits may be available to the child. The child must be unmarried and meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Be younger than 18 years of age; or
  • Be 18 to 19 years of age and a full-time student attending high school; or
  • Be at least 18 years of age and have a disability that started before the child reached 22 years of age.

In addition to a child born to a parent who is disabled and receives SSD benefits, family benefits may be available to the following:

  • Stepchildren
  • Adopted children
  • Grandchildren
  • Step grandchildren

Additional eligibility requirements must be met for a grandchild or step-grandchild to receive benefits, so speak with an SSD advocate at London Disability for more information.

How much does SSD pay per child?

Limits apply to the benefit payable to the child of a disabled parent. The general rule limits the payments SSD pay per child to 50% of the total SSD benefit paid to the parent. The per-child maximum increases to 75% if the disabled parent dies. There is, in addition to the per-child limit, a maximum benefit payable to all children and other members of a family who may be eligible. The total maximum allowable benefit payable to all children and other eligible members of a family ranges from 150% to 180% of the full SSDI benefit payable to the parent.

If there are multiple children eligible to receive benefits through a disabled parent, SSA adjusts what SSD pays per child to stay within the maximum range. To get an idea of how this works in practice, assume that a single parent is disabled and who are eligible for benefits, but the benefit payable to each child would be reduced below the 50% generally payable per child.

The reason for the reduction in the per-child benefit is that the parent receives a full benefit. If each of the three children were to receive 50% of the parent’s benefit, the total paid out to the family would be 250% of the total benefit awarded to the parent. As a result, the benefits payable to each of the children will be reduced to stay at or below the maximum that can be paid to the family.

When does the benefit payable to a child stop?

Benefits paid to a child because of a disabled parent generally end when the child reaches 18 years of age or 19 years of age for children who are in high school. A different rule applies to a disabled child receiving payments based on the disability of a parent.

The benefits to children do not stop when the disabled parent dies. Benefits that Social Security disability pays per child continue after the death of a disabled parent for as long as the child continues to meet the eligibility guidelines for them.

A disabled child may continue to receive benefits after reaching 18 years of age or completion of high school provided the child’s disability began before 22 years of age. Someone in this situation needs to speak with a disability advocate at London Disability. It is possible a child at 18 years of age may qualify for a higher benefit amount by filing an application for A href=””>SSDI or SSI in their own name and based on their disability and, in the case of SSDI, work record.

Children and SSI benefits

Blind or disabled children may qualify for SSI benefits in their own right provided they meet the qualifying financial criteria as to income and resources. An eligible child may receive $794 a month through SSI in 2021. Most states offer a supplement to the federal benefit that is paid through SSI.

Contact an SSD advocate for more information

To learn more about applying for benefits through SSI for a blind or disabled child or for benefits as a result of the disability of a parent who is eligible and receives SSD, contact a disability advocate at London Disability. Get answers to your questions and advice you can trust during a free consultation and claim review.

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