Generally, when children who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) turn 18, they must be reevaluated for disability benefits as adults. This process is typically called redetermination or age 18 redetermination.
During this process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine the individual's eligibility for disability based on the rules for adults, with some minor changes.
Because there are some differences between how children and adults are evaluated for SSI, there is a chance that benefits could end.
Eligibility for Children vs. Adults
Both children and adults can qualify for Social Security disability benefits by meeting or equaling a listing in the SSA's blue book of impairment listings. The disability listings in the Childhood Blue Book and the Adult Blue Book are generally the same and are intended to be equally severe. A child who met the listing requirements as a child should also meet the requirements as an adult.
However, some children are able to qualify for benefits by being functionally equivalent to a listing if his or her impairment is at the same level of severity of the listing. This is not an option for adults, so children who qualified for benefits in this way, may not qualify for adult benefits.
For adults, the SSA places significant weight on an applicant's ability to work or perform substantial gainful activity. Those who do not meet an impairment listing may qualify for benefits if they can demonstrate that their disability prevents them from working. This is called a medical-vocational allowance.
Social Security Requirements
When transitioning into adult disability benefits, young adults will have to meet the same requirements as other adults applying for benefits. This includes having a disability for at least a year and not being able to work.
To determine an 18-year-old's ability to work, the SSA will evaluate:
- How the young adult performed in school programs, how he or she interacted with classmates and if there are any physical limitations
- How the young adult engaged in their community and if any special accommodations were necessary
- The individual's ability to handle workplace-stress through statements from sources familiar with the young adult
Both adults and children are required to provide medical documentation of their impairment, however additional medical evidence may be needed in an age 18 redetermination to show how the young adult's medical condition impacts his or her abilities.
This can include statements from:
- Other treating professionals like social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors
- Family and friends who have contact with the individual on a regular basis
- School teachers and education providers
If your child runs into issues during an age 18 redetermination, our disability attorneys may be able to help. Contact Dayes Law Firm PC and speak to a Phoenix Social Security Disability attorney for a free consultation to learn more.