Raising children is not for the feeble. Add disability to the mix and the pressures mount. Navigating Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Baltimore rocks the heartiest of parents and now top it with this: Three months before birthday 18, parents are notified that benefits will end. Yes, disability benefits for children end at their eighteenth birthday.
An extension of benefits may be granted in cases where children meet one or both of the following criteria:
1. The child remains a full-time student at an elementary or secondary school.
2. The child bears a disability that began before age 22.
Qualifying under the first criteria, a student must submit a statement of attendance certified by the school to Social Security. Full-time standing equates to 20 hours per week of study unless the school uses a higher scale. Benefits continue for students until they graduate or turn 19 whichever date falls first. However, payments stop if a beneficiary is no longer a student, drops below full-time status or marries.
Qualifying under the second criteria, the child or a representative must contact a Social Security office to file for a continuation of benefits. Before placing the call, the applicant should be prepared with a history of the condition including names and addresses of doctors and hospitals that hold the claimant’s medical records, schools attended and a work history if applicable.
In Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases where the child receives SSI benefits until age 18, the case is reviewed in the child’s eighteenth year. This process is termed redetermination. Medical and non-medical criteria for determining adult eligibility differ from that which approves children. For example, the parent’s income and resources do not factor into an adult’s determination. Also, the adult decision focuses on work where the child’s decision looks at function.
To complete a redetermination, field officers gather information on disability and function and the data is forwarded to the decision-making agency. With children bridging to age 18, Social Security considers capacities and limitations in education, participation in paid and volunteer training and work, and work related stress. Performance in these areas likely predicts adult work success. Commonly, if a disability exists up to age 18, the claimant qualifies as a young adult as well.
With the added pressures of a child turning 18, the seeking of continued benefits overwhelm. A representative or advocate aids in the child’s case and can relieve stress and clarify processes. Finding a disability representative in Baltimore can ease the process.