An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child's benefits if a parent is deceased, or receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits. The SSA considers this a "child's" benefit because it is paid on a parent's Social Security earnings record. Here is the DAC page on the SSA website.
The DAC benefit is almost always higher than the disability benefit based upon the claimant's own limited work record. And the DAC benefit is more favorable than SSI. The monthly benefit is likely to be higher, and disability comes with Medicare. Further, disability recipients are not penalized if they are able to earn a little money each month to supplement their disability check (keep it under SGA), unlike SSI recipients.
To qualify, the "adult child" must be:
- age 18 or older, and
- have a disability that started before age 22.
The parent must be disabled, retired, or deceased.
The SSA makes the disability determination using the usual adult disabilty process.
Sometimes a change in status of a parent makes the child eligible. Suppose a son has been on SSI since age 20, and is now 25. The parent retires or dies. Now the son is eligible for DAC benefits.
These claims can reward the disability lawyer who digs a little deeper. With younger adults pursuing an SSI or disability claim, be sure to inquire about the status of both parents, and whether the alleged onset date should be amended to allow a DAC claim.