Children who become eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when they are under the age of 18 are required to have their eligibility re-evaluated when they reach the age of 18. This is because when an applicant is under the age of 18, they are considered to be a child and therefore evaluated as such. Applicants over the age of 18 are evaluated as adults.
This is important because there are often major differences between the eligibility criteria for a child and the eligibility criteria for an adult. For example, a condition that may qualify a child for benefits may not necessarily qualify an adult for benefits.
Age 18 redetermination typically occurs the month before a child’s 18th birthday. To prepare for redetermination you should consult the SSA’s Blue Book—as you did during the initial application process. The Blue Book is the SSA’s official handbook of disabling conditions. It is split up into two parts. Part A contains the listings for adults and part B contains the listings for children. Be sure that the SSI recipient meets the adult standards for his or her specific impairment.
Also of importance are the SSI financial limits. When a child is under the age of 18, he or she will be evaluated based on their parents’ income. When a person turns 18 he or she will be evaluated based on their own income. Because teenagers don’t typically earn as much income as their parents, this isn’t often a problem. In fact, it may result in an increased monthly payment. To be safe, you should consult the SSI financial requirements to be sure that you or your child falls within the income limits.
If the SSA finds that the child qualifies for disability benefits as an adult, he or she will continue to receive benefits after turning 18. It is estimated that approximately one-third of age 18 redeterminations result in a cessation of benefits.