Can Children Get SSDI Benefits?

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
April 04, 2016

Many people want to know if the Social Security Disability program also makes benefits available for children.

The short answer is no, because SSDI is a program for adults based on their work history. But the good news is that there is another Social Security program that provide benefits for children.

Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI disability, can provide benefits to those who have not worked, including children, or those who worked a long time ago.

SSI bases a child’s disability application on the parents’ income and assets until the child turns 18 years old, and those who fall within the guidelines and are declared medically disabled may qualify for benefits. The medical disability must be permanent in nature, expected to last at least one year or resulting in death. SSI decisions usually take three to five months.

Children are required to go through the same qualification process as adults in proving their case for SSI benefits. The biggest difference between an adult and child application is that a child’s application will need to also provide educational records in addition to income, work history, medical records and history, and other supporting documents. The level of the ability of the child to function in school supplants the child’s ability to perform in a work setting.


It is important to note that SSI disability is not intended to provide medical assistance to those who are approved. However, Social Security can assist applicants finding medical resources if needed. In most cases, SSI recipients are also eligible to receive Medicaid benefits as well.

In those instances where a child is denied benefits, they can either appeal the decision or file another claim with new information. Children under 16 who are approved for SSI will also be referred to state agencies that will be able to provide social, medical, and developmental services. Even if a child is denied SSI benefits, it may be in the family’s best interests to seek out state agencies for assistance.

Children who receive SSI disability benefits may also seek employment. There are certain rules and guidelines governing SSI disability payments that are worth researching if this is part of a child’s self-sufficiency goal. Social Security also has two programs to help young people who want to work while still getting SSI disability benefits. They are:

  • Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program
  • Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) Program.
Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
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