Disability Benefits 101What Do We Mean When We Talk about Disability Benefits?
The term “cash benefits” most commonly refers to benefits paid by Social Security. The two cash benefits youth receive from Social Security are:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Title II benefits
1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
The Social Security SSI benefit is for people who are elderly, blind or have a disability and who limited or no income.
SSI benefits provide cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Eligibility is based on disability AND income and resources.
Youth vs. Adult SSI
- Before Age 18
- 18 and Older
For youth under age 18, the income and assets of a child and of the parent(s) they live with are used to determine eligibility for SSI. Using the parents’ income and assets is called deeming.
Benefits before age 18 (all ages before age 18)
Because the income and assets of parents count toward a child’s eligibility for SSI, here are some of the most important things families must report to Social Security:
- Monthly wages and self-employment – more about work reporting.
- Changes to child support paid into or out of the home
- Income of all children in the home
- Changes of household size like marriage, new children, or when someone moves out.
- Address changes.
It’s always important to respond to requests from Social Security.
Upon adulthood, only the income and assets of the individual are used to determine eligibility for SSI.
- Some people are not eligible as a child because their parents’ income is too high. They may become eligible at age 18.
- Some people get a higher SSI payment when they become an adult because their parent’s income no longer affects their payment.
- Sometimes people aren’t eligible even after they reach 18 because they still have income or assets too high.
Transitioning from children’s benefits to adult benefits
Children who had benefits before age 18 will have to have a medical redetermination [link to redetermination post] to continue benefits into adulthood.
- Fill out all the paperwork requested.
- Return paperwork immediately.
- Discuss a plan for youth if benefits are denied.
- Reach out to the ADRC with your questions. Wisconsin ADRCs | All State ADRCs
Apply for benefits for the first time at age 18
2. Title II Benefits
There are different types of Title II benefits and the benefits available differ based on a person’s age.
Before Age 18
The Title II benefits children may receive are called Auxiliary benefits. Auxiliary benefits are for children who have a parent who has died, retired, or has a disability benefit. The parent must be insured for Social Security based on their work history.
This benefit is paid to children until the age of 18 unless they are still in high school. It is not based on disability. Even if the kid has a disability, this is not related to eligibility. There is an annual income test. It’s not likely the youth will earn enough to reach the income test, so we do not see youth lose eligibility based on their own income.
18 and Older
- The rules change for this benefit:
- The benefit becomes a Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB) after age 18. To be eligible, a person must have a disability determination. The person must also have a parent who has died, retired, or has a disability benefit.
- At age 18, teens and adults can also become eligible for a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit if they have worked enough in the past.
Remember, if you or your child need help with navigating some of the decisions, reviewing information received from Social Security, or understanding how working impacts benefits, contact a benefits specialist to answer your questions.