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Can children receive Social Security benefits?

Many of the previous posts here provide a lot of details regarding Social Security disability benefits. Some of our readers may be looking for information not for themselves, but for their disabled children. They may be left thinking, "Can children receive Social Security benefits?" As it turns out, the answer is "yes." However, the benefits aren't quite the same as those available to adults with a disability. Instead, the benefits are known as "Supplemental Security Income."

SSI benefits are a narrow part of the overall Social Security structure, but they are very important for the people who receive them. When most adults become disabled, they apply for SSD benefits because they have spent time in the workforce and therefore fall under that program. However, children, obviously, do not build up a lot of time in the workforce if they are disabled, but that does not mean that they are without a means to secure financial assistance.

Applying for SSI benefits can be similar to applying for SSD benefits, but in most cases the person applying for SSI benefits is a caretaker doing so on the behalf of the child who will receive the benefits. A family that is caring for a disabled child will often have quite a few more expenses to cover than families without any disabled children, and SSI benefits are there to help.

As with any Social Security program, however, there are requirements that need to be met before benefits are approved. Family members who are looking for this supplemental income on behalf of a disabled child will probably want to be sure to get the right information on where to start in order to ensure a maximum potential for approval.

Source: SSA.gov, "Apply for Disability Benefits - Child (Under Age 18)," accessed on Sept. 19, 2014

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