Can A Child Receive Disability Benefits?

Picture of a mother reading a story to her young son

The Social Security Disability attorneys at DA Michigan frequently receive questions concerning children’s eligibility for disability benefits. When parents receive Social Security disability benefits, their children may also be eligible for benefits. Read below to find out more.

If I’m Approved for Disability, Will My Child Get Benefits?

In 2021, the SSA distributed an average of $2.8 billion every month to about 4 million children whose parents became disabled, retired, or passed away. For people who support their families, becoming disabled can be challenging not only emotionally and physically but also financially. Whether your child will get Social Security benefits depends on if you’ve been approved for SSDI or SSI disability benefits. Only SSDI provides dependents benefits for children. SSI gives no benefits to anyone but the disabled person. Disabled children can receive disability benefits under SSI.

Under certain circumstances, the SSA may also pay benefits to a stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild, or adopted child.

To receive benefits, a child must:

  • Have a parent who’s disabled or retired and entitled to Social Security benefits


  • Recently lost a parent who worked long enough in a job where they paid Social Security taxes.

Is My Disabled Child Eligible for Benefits? 

If your child suffers from chronic illnesses, diseases, or disabilities that significantly affect their school or home life, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefits.

What Are The Requirements For My Child to Receive Benefits?

The Social Security Administration requires your child to meet all of the following requirements to be considered disabled and, therefore, medically eligible for benefits.

Age Requirements

For a child to be considered for SSI benefits, they must be under the age of 18. After children reach the age of 18, their disability benefits will be reevaluated under adult listings

Medical Requirements

The Social Security administration has a list of impairments that if met, will qualify your child for disability benefits. There are 14 different diseases or impairments in their “blue book” that cover various impairments for children.

Financial Requirements

Family finances may play a role in determining whether a child qualifies for benefits. The SSA determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis, looking at each family’s income and assets. The criteria are lengthy and vary widely, and not all types of income and assets are included.

Length of Disability

A child’s disability must have lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months. There are some exceptions though, for example, a child born premature with a low birth weight can qualify for presumptive disability before reaching six months.

How Do I File for My Child?

If your child has a disability, and you believe they may qualify for benefits, you can apply by calling Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office.

Once you file, the Social Security Administration will send you a letter once a determination has been made. It can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months to determine a child’s eligibility.

My Claim Was Denied. What Are Our Next Steps?

The Social Security Administration could deny your child for SSI benefits for several reasons, for example:

  • A claims examiner decided your child’s condition isn’t severe enough.
  • You did not provide enough medical evidence confirming the severity of your child’s disability.
  • Your child has not received adequate medical treatment.
  • Your family’s resources exceed the SSA financial requirements.

If you want to appeal your denial, you must file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the denial notice date, plus five days for mailing. You can file it online at or in person at your local social security field office.

If the Request for Reconsideration is denied and you want to appeal that denial, you must request a “hearing” within 60 days of the date of the denial notice, plus five days for mailing.

Call the Disability Attorneys of Michigan Today

If your child’s claim has been denied, you may feel overwhelmed about what to do next. Before you give up, consult with an experienced Michigan Social Security disability lawyer for direction.

To learn more, contact us today by filling out the free consultation form below or call for a free case consultation at 800-701-5524.

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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.