The are two types of benefits that fall under the broader umbrella of “disability benefits”. SSI benefits are paid out to individual who are determined to be disabled, but have not paid in enough to Social Security through their payroll withholdings to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSI benefits are also reserved for individual who have under $2,000.00 in counted assets. If you are receiving only SSI benefits, your child will not be eligible for separate benefits based on your status as an SSI recipient. However, the child of an individual receiving SSDI benefits (benefits based on quarterly credits accrued from working) may also be eligible to receive benefits, notwithstanding any disability of their own.
Death or a disability of a parent can result in an award of children’s insurance benefits if the parent is/was entitled to disability insurance benefits (SSDI) or retirement insurance benefits. In any event, these benefits will not be bestowed upon the child automatically. An application for children’s insurance benefits must be filed. This can be accomplished at your local Social Security Administration branch office. A successful application must establish several criteria. First, the child must be/have been dependent on the parent. This is almost always presumed to be the case. Second, the child must not be married and must either be 1) under the age of 18; or 2) is age 18-19 and a full-time elementary or secondary school student. Again, the parent must be entitled to SSDI benefits, retirement benefits, or have died either fully or currently insured (meaning they paid in enough through their earnings to become eligible for benefits).
Notably, a child for these purposes need not be a biological child. A non-biological child may be eligible for child benefits depending on the law of the state and whether or not they would be allowed to inherit from the parent.