The Social Security Administration knows that when a child has a mental or physical disability, household budgets may be strained. The Supplemental Security Income program is a social safety net for people with disabling conditions in low income households. And in some cases, a child may qualify for SSI benefits.
Similarly, young adults who become disabled before the age of 22 may qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits on a parent's work history under a benefit program known as the disabled adult-child program. The SSA says it is called a "child" program due to the review of the parent's Social Security earnings record.
For low income families with a disabled child, the Social Security Administration looks at a number of factors to determine eligibility for SSI. The agency looks at medical information related to a physical or mental impairment of the child, employment of the child, if any, and other factors. The SSA may also look to information from schools, parents and caregivers in its eligibility determination process for kids and SSI benefits.
In determining eligibility in these situations the SSA looks at the child’s income and resources. Obviously, the agency will look at household incomes other than the child and will evaluate the resources and income of family members living in the household.
The child must have a condition (or conditions), which seriously place limits the child’s activities. The SSA says that a disability must rise to the level to place severe limitations on the child’s participation in age appropriate activities.
The definition of disability under SSA programs does not recognize short-term disabilities. A mental or physical impairment must last for at least one year, or doctors must expect the condition to continue for at least a year under SSA eligibility rules. A condition that doctors expect to result in death would also qualify.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Benefits For Children With Disabilities,” last accessed Dec. 6, 2013