SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) FOR CHILDREN
WHO IS A "CHILD" FOR SSI?
A person who is neither married (as determined by Social Security) nor head of a household and:
is under age 18; or
is under age 22 and is a student regularly attending school (as determined by Social Security).
HOW DOES THE SSI DISABILITY PROGRAM WORK FOR A CHILD?
To be eligible for SSI benefits, a child must be either blind or disabled.
A child may be eligible for SSI disability benefits beginning as early as the date of birth; there is no minimum age requirement.
A child may be eligible for SSI disability benefits until attainment of age 18 (see definition of disability for children).
When the child attains age 18, we evaluate impairments based on the definition of disability for adults (see definition of disability for adults).
A child with a visual impairment may be eligible for SSI benefits based on blindness if the impairment meets the definition of blindness (see blindness requirements).
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR A “DISABLED” OR “BLIND” CHILD?
If under age 18, whether or not married or head of household, the child has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or impairments which result in marked and severe functional limitations; and
The impairment(s) has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or be expected to result in death; or
If the child is blind, he or she meets the same definition of “blind” as applies for adults. See WHAT IS "BLINDNESS" FOR AN ADULT OR CHILD?. Unlike the requirement for SSI disability benefits, there is no duration requirement for SSI blindness benefits.
SSA is committed to providing benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards.
Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The CAL initiative helps reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can easily identify potential CAL to quickly make decisions. SSA receives information form the public, advocacy groups, comments received from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, counsel from medical and scientific experts, research with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and information received from past public outreach hearings regarding potential CAL conditions. Go to http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/ for more information on CAL.
HOW DOES DEEMING WORK FOR A CHILD?
If a child is under age 18, not married, and lives at home with parent(s) who do not receive SSI benefits, we may consider a portion of the parents' income and resources as if they were available to the child. We may also count a portion of a stepparent’s income and resources if the child lives with both a parent and a stepparent (or an adoptive parent and a stepparent). We also do this when a child is temporarily away at school, returns home during weekends, holidays or during the summer and remains subject to parental control. We call this process "deeming."
We make deductions from deemed income for parents and for other children living in the home. After we subtract these deductions, we use the remaining amount to decide if the child meets the SSI income and resource requirements for a monthly benefit.
|For more information, see the SSI Spotlight on Deeming Parental Income and Resources.|
WHEN DOES DEEMING NOT APPLY?
Deeming from the parent stops when a child attains age 18, marries, or no longer lives with a parent. Deeming does not apply, and we may pay up to $30 plus the applicable State supplement when:
a disabled child receives a reduced SSI benefit while in a medical treatment facility; and
the child is eligible for Medicaid under a State home care plan; and
deeming would otherwise cause ineligibility for SSI benefits.
Also, we do not consider the income of a parent for deeming purposes if the parent receives a Public Income Maintenance payment (PIM) such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and his or her other income was used to compute the PIM payment.
|See SSI AND ELIGIBILITY FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AND STATE PROGRAMS for information on TANF.|
If either child or parent is temporarily absent from the household (less than 60 days), the rules about deemed income still apply.
CAN A CHILD GET MEDICAID?
In most States, a child who gets SSI benefits can get Medicaid to help pay medical bills.
In some cases, a child may be eligible for Medicaid while in an institution, but not be eligible when living at home either because of the parents' income and resources or because of other income.
At the State's option, children under age 18 who need institutional–level care and live at home may keep Medicaid eligibility while getting home care, if that care is less costly to the government.
Even if the child is not eligible for SSI benefits, the child still may be eligible for Medicaid under other State rules. Always check on Medicaid eligibility with the State.
For more information about Medicaid, you can look on the internet on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website at http://www.medicaid.gov/index.html or call toll–free, 1–800–633–4227.
In addition, other State services may also be available.
If you have children or grandchildren under age 19 who are not covered by health insurance, there is a Children's Health Insurance Program that may help. To find out more, you can look on the Internet at www.insurekidsnow.gov or call toll free, 1–877–KIDS–NOW (1–877–543–7669). The number connects you to your State program.
CHILDREN OF U.S. ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL LIVING OVERSEAS
Children living with a parent in the military service overseas may receive SSI benefits, but they are not eligible for Medicaid.
|For more information, see the SSI Spotlight on Special SSI Rules for Children of Military Personnel Living Overseas.|
WHAT IS A DEDICATED ACCOUNT?
When an eligible child under age 18, who has a representative payee, is eligible for certain large past–due payments covering more than 6 months of benefits, these payments must be paid directly into a separate account in a financial institution. We call this separate account a dedicated account because the representative payee, or later the child, may use the funds in this account only for certain expenses, primarily those related to the child's disability or education. The representative payee must maintain the dedicated account separately from any other savings or checking account set up for the child. Each year, we will monitor how the representative payee spends the funds in the dedicated account.
|For more information, see the SSI Spotlight on Dedicated Accounts for Children.|
DEEMING ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES
The Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children below gives the highest amount of gross monthly income for this year (before taxes are withheld) that a parent(s) can earn or receive and still have a child qualify for SSI. Note that we do not count some types of income that a parent may receive; for example, money received for providing foster care to an ineligible child.
|For more information on income, see SSI INCOME.|
DEEMING ELIGIBILITY CHART FOR CHILDREN FOR 2021
WARNINGBEFORE USING THIS CHART, SEE SSI FOR CHILDREN. IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER A CHILD IS ELIGIBLE, CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Gross monthly income BELOW the dollar amounts shown means a disabled child may be eligible for SSI benefits.
Amounts given are general guidelines only.
|All income is earned||All income is unearned|
|One parent in
|Two parents in
|One parent in
|Two parents in
The Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children does not apply when:
The parent(s) receives both earned income (for example, wages or net earnings from self-employment) and unearned income (for example, Social Security benefits, pensions, unemployment compensation, interest income, and State disability).
The parent(s) receives a public income maintenance payment such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or a needs–based pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs. See SSI AND ELIGIBILITY FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AND STATE PROGRAMS for more information on TANF.
The parent pays court-ordered support payments.
The child has income of his or her own.
Any ineligible child has income of his or her own, marries, or leaves the home.
There is more than one disabled child applying for or receiving SSI benefits.
Your State supplements the Federal benefit.
Use the Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children in the following States or territory, which do not supplement the Federal benefit for children:
|District of Columbia
||Northern Mariana Islands
If you live in one of the States listed below, Social Security administers the State supplement for children. Call us for deeming eligibility information.
*Montana supplements disabled and blind children in certified foster homes only. Nevada supplements blind children only. Iowa supplements children with in-home related care or that reside in residential care facilities without SSA involvement.
If you live in one of the States listed below, your State administers the State supplement for children. Contact the State for information.
* Connecticut, Minnesota, and New Hampshire only supplement benefits for blind children.