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SSD for Disabled Children

A child under age 18 may be disabled, but the Social Security Administration does not need to consider the child's disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as your dependent. The child's benefits normally stop at age 18 unless he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or high school (benefits can continue until age 19) or is disabled.

For a child with a disability to receive benefits on your record after age 18, the following rules apply:

  • The disabling impairment must have started before age 22, and;

  • He or she must meet the definition of disability for adults.

Note: An adult may become eligible for a disabled child's benefit from Social Security later in life.

For example, a worker starts collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. He has a 38-year old son who has had cerebral palsy since birth. The son will start collecting a disabled "child's" benefit on his father's Social Security record.

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