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Can a Disabled Adult Child Get SSDI?

January 17, 2023

By Shelley W. Elovitz, Esquire

Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Disabled Adult Child (DAC) program

A disabled adult child may be able to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based on their parent’s employment. Usually, to qualify for SSDI, you must:

  • Have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.
  • Have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s strict definition of disability.

Children with a disability may be receiving benefits as a minor child on a parent’s social security record and can collect until they are 18. Then it becomes a catch 22 – You must work for at least 10 years to be eligible for SSDI, but they are too young to meet that work record requirement. Luckily, the SSA has established the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) program.

Under DAC, it is not necessary that the DAC ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record. However, there are criteria that must be met.

  • The child must be 18 or older.
  • The qualified disability must have begun before the age of 22.
  • The child must be unmarried.
  • The child must meet the definition of disability for adults.
  • The child may be adopted or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild.
  • The parent must be either deceased, permanently disabled, or currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits.

If the child is receiving SSI benefits or disability benefits on his or her own record, the parent should check to see if DAC benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record when they reach age 18. Higher benefits might be payable and entitlement to Medicare may be possible. If you have questions about SSDI for a disabled child, contact us online or call (412) 338-1183.

Source: Social Security administration website


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