Will Your Child Lose Disability Benefits After Turning 18?

Every one to six years, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, conducts a redetermination of people who receive disability benefits. Certain events, such as your disabled minor child turning 18 years of age, can trigger a review. If you have been notified that your child is due for a redetermination, here is what you need to know. 

What Is the SSA Looking For?

To prepare for the redetermination, it is important to understand exactly what the SSA is looking for. In essence, the agency is attempting to determine if your child still meets the requirements to receive disability benefits. 

When your child received benefits in the past, it was more so based on your child's functioning level. Now that your child is approaching his or her 18th birthday, the SSA bases the redetermination on your child's ability to work. The agency needs to know if there is a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from working. 

How Does the SSA Determine Ability to Work?

Unless your child has held a job prior to turning 18, the SSA has to determine how likely it is that he or she will and whether or not he or she is capable of working. To determine this, the SSA assesses your child in certain areas. 

How well your child performed in school or other educational endeavors will be closely reviewed. The SSA uses your child's performance to determine if there are any limitations, such as being unable to complete work without assistance, to estimate how your child would respond in a work environment. 

Another factor that is assessed is how your child responds to stress in normal situations. For instance, how your child handles challenging assignments in school or responds to confrontations from others are both evaluated. 

What Can You Do?

It is important that you help the SSA accurately assess your child. Unfortunately, the SSA might inaccurately assess your child's abilities, which could lead to his or her benefits being terminated. 

One of the first things you can do is talk to his or her teachers, social workers, and other education-related professionals who have worked with or evaluated your child in the past few years. Obtain statements from all of them regarding your child's abilities. 

You also need to thoroughly detail your child's abilities to the SSA on the redetermination application. List every impairment your child has and how it impacts his or her abilities. Offer examples to help the SSA worker understand your child's abilities. 

You can further safeguard your child's benefits by working with an attorney who is experienced in disability claims