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Supplemental Security Income for Children with Disabilities

Supplemental Security Income benefits are not just for adults. If your child is under 18 years old, has a physical and/or mental condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability, he or she may qualify for monthly benefit payments.

As with SSI for adults, there are also income and asset requirements. Social Security will look at the child’s income and assets, as well as your income and resources and those of family members’ living in the home.

If your child has a special needs trust, you must be careful.
Some SSI distributions will reduce SSI benefits.

In addition to your child meeting the requirements for being considered disabled, and therefore eligible for SSI, your child:

  1. *May earn up to $1,651.00 a month in 2020.
  2. Must have a physical and/or mental condition that severely limits his or her activities.
  3. Must have a condition that is or is expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months, or the condition must be expected to result in death.
*General Earned Income Exclusion

The first $65 (up to a maximum of $85 if the individual has no income other than earnings) of any monthly earned income plus one-half of remaining earnings are excluded for SSI benefit computation purposes. This general earned income exclusion is intended to help offset expenses incurred while working.

For 2020, if an individual has only earnings income, then he or she could earn up to $1,651 per month and still be eligible for an SSI benefit. However, if an individual has monthly earnings of $1,260 or more in 2020, then the person would be considered to be engaging in substantial gainful activity and would probably not meet initial eligibility requirements for SSI disability benefits (unless he or she is blind).

You can apply for SSI payments for your child by calling the Social Security office at 800-772-1213. You may also visit your local office. Be sure to have your child’s Social Security number and birth certificate with you.

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