What Happens To SSI When A Child Turns 18?

Many disabled children receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They may not be aware that once they reach age 18, their SSI benefits can change. Here we will discuss some of the things that SSI recipients should know when they turn 18. A Mobile, AL Social Security disability benefits attorney can help you understand these and other rules. Working with Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC, we can make your child’s transition to adulthood successful.

When an SSI recipient turns 18, Social Security reviews that person’s continued eligibility for benefits. This review is based on the disability rules that apply for adults. Within a year of turning 18 you will be contacted by Social Security for what is called the Age-18 Redetermination. This is a medical review process, and you will be asked to provide the following information about your disability:

  • The names of any medicines you take
  • Details about hospital stays and surgeries you’ve had
  • Information about your visits to doctors and health clinics
  • Your work activity
  • Counseling and therapy you’ve had
  • Your schools and any special classes or tutoring
  • The identifies of teachers and counselors who know about your condition

The purpose of this review is to determine if you meet the disability rules for adults. These are not the same rules that apply to children. Approximately one-third of children lose their SSI eligibility when they turn 18. The Social Security Administration will notify the recipient of its determination in writing. If you are denied benefits, you should contact a Mobile, AL Social Security disability benefits attorney.

You do have the right to appeal a decision, and we can assist you with that process. However, be aware that if you want to appeal, you have 60 days from the date you received your letter. If you appeal within 10 days, you can choose to continue receiving your SSI benefits during the appeal process.

Turning 18 may have an effect on non-medical eligibility as well, such as your ability to earn. Social Security does offer work incentives that allow recipients to keep receiving SSI while they work. But they will ask about your income, including any money you earn. If you use SSI support and incentives to help you work, some of your earnings will not count. This will reduce your risk of losing SSI because of working. But as you earn more, your SSI benefits will decrease and may stop. You should consult your Mobile, AL Social Security benefits disability lawyer for questions about these work incentives.

Your SSI payments will typically end if Social Security determines you are no longer medically eligible after Redetermination. But the SSI does have a continued payments rule by which your benefits may be extended. This is for recipients who participate in an approved special education program, vocational rehabilitation program, or similar service. The benefits can continue as long as you stay in the program. Your participation in one of these approved programs must have begun before your eligibility would otherwise end. Social Security must review your program and decide that continued participation will likely terminate your disability benefits. Ask a Mobile, AL Social Security benefits attorney about the SSI continued benefits program.


These are just some of the ways that turning 18 can affect your SSI benefits, and what you can do. Other programs exist to help disabled children in the program become adults. The rules governing Social Security’s determination and appeals processes are complex. If you have received an unfavorable determination or simply have questions about SSI benefits, turn to Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC. We are experienced with all aspects of Social Security disability benefits and can help you today.

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