Q: Can a child receive both Social Security and SSI?
A: Yes, because Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two separate programs with different rules. Eligibility for a child under age 18 would be for different reasons in each program.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, or blind or disabled. The income and resource requirements must be met before any SSI benefits are possible. Income and resources of family members, including parents and siblings, living in the same household are considered when a SSI application is received for a child. The maximum monthly SSI benefit to a child in 2012 is $698. Income, including Social Security, reduces this amount.
A child younger than age 18 can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets the definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits. In other words, a young child must be disabled to receive SSI.
Social Security benefits for a child, including biological, adopted and stepchildren, are based on the work record of a parent who is receiving SSA retirement or disability or is deceased. Social Security benefits to eligible children under age 18 are payable because of the parent-child relationship, not because the child is disabled. Until age 18, a child can receive Social Security through the parent’s record just by being alive. Amounts depend on the work record of the parent and whether the parent is alive or deceased.
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are separate programs with different rules. To receive both, a child under age 18 would first have to be receiving Social Security through a parent. Then, for SSI, this child would also have to be disabled plus in a low income and resources home.
Upon reaching age 18, rules change for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. At 18, a child eligible for either program might continue receiving benefits or benefits might end. This will be a topic for another time.
More information is at www.socialsecurity.gov or contact Social Security.