Can your adult child qualify for SSDI?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Social Security Disability

It might surprise you to know that your adult children with disabilities can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

As of 2021, about 1.1 million adult children in the United States are receiving SSDI benefits, according to recent statistics from the Social Security Administration.

Criteria for SSDI eligibility

To determine eligibility, the SSA considers an adult’s work history and the number of work credits earned through employment. The required number of credits depends on the individual’s age at the time of disability onset, typically requiring 40 credits with 20 earned in the last 10 years.

Work history and parental dependence

If your adult child is to qualify for SSDI benefits, they must meet the work history requirements themselves or be eligible based on your work history.

Their disability should have manifested before the age of 22, and the child must have been dependent on you when you became entitled to disability or Social Security retirement benefits. The SSA determines dependency by financial support or living arrangements.


In most cases, these benefits end upon marriage. There may be exceptions, however, and the SSA takes this on a case-by-case basis.

Qualifying disabilities

Children can qualify under various disability categories, including physical impairments, intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions. The SSA maintains a comprehensive listing of impairments, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and certain mental disorders.

SSDI application process

The application process for SSDI is extensive, requiring detailed information about your child’s medical history, treatments and the functional limitations caused by the disability. The SSA relies on this information to assess eligibility.

Financial considerations

Financial considerations for eligibility focus on the child’s disability and either their or your work history. It is not based on income or resources. However, Substantial Gainful Activity can impact eligibility if current earnings exceed a certain threshold set by the Social Security Administration and the amount changes each year. In 2023, the SGA for blind people is $2,460 and $1,470 for those who are not blind.

Denials and appeals

If the SSA denies your child’s SSDI application, an appeals process exists. This allows for reconsideration of the initial decision and a chance to present more evidence.

For adult children facing significant disabilities, SSDI offers financial support, ensuring they receive the necessary care and assistance throughout their lifetime.