Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

How a disabled adult can receive SSDI without a work history

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Social Security Disability Process And Benefits |

As we have talked about before, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) benefits are based on your work history. The more time you spent working (and the higher your income) before you became disabled, the higher the benefit amount you might qualify for.

There is an important exception to this work history requirement. It applies to adults who generally were disabled at birth or developed a disability as a minor. People with a severe disability since childhood often have limited or no ability to work. They thus cannot develop the work history necessary to qualify for SSD the usual way. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration lets people in this position apply for SSD based on their parents’ work history instead as a Disabled Adult Child (DAC).

Rules for qualifying

To qualify for benefits as a DAC, an applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a qualifying disability that began before they turned 22
  • Meet the SSA’s definition for adults
  • Be unmarried

Once approved, the DAC must not earn a substantial income. For 2022, the SSA defines “substantial” as earning more than $1,350 per month or $2,260 if your qualifying disability is blindness. The SSA adjusts the maximum monthly income each year.

Many people who were disabled as children already collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Depending on their parents’ work records and other factors, switching to SSD DAC benefit might make sense.

My son or daughter can’t get married and get DAC?

The prohibition against being married is somewhat controversial. In addition, the SSA cancels DAC benefits if the recipient gets married later, though it does make exceptions, such as when the recipient’s spouse also receives DAC benefits.

DAC might be a good option when a disabled child turns 18. The benefits can help them live comfortably despite being unable to work full-time.

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