How to Apply for Disabled Adult Children Benefits


If your child is over the age of 18 and has a qualified disability, the Social Security Administration may consider him an “adult child.” Your child must be unmarried and have a disability that started before he turned 22 years old. In addition, you must receive Social Security payments or be retired because adult children receive disability benefits based on your Social Security earnings record. If you are not retired or receiving Social Security payments, your child may need to apply for disability using the traditional adult disability insurance application.

Call the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or TTY number (800) 325-0778 to schedule a disability application appointment for your adult child. Ask the representative to mail you an Adult Starter Kit, which will help you gather medical and income information you will need for your appointment. You can also download and print the starter kit from SSA’s website (

Fill out the “Medical and Job Worksheet” in the SSA Adult Starter Kit to the best of your ability. For these worksheets, you will need information regarding your child’s medical history, disabling condition, the contact information for your child’s physicians and applicable specialists, the dates of medical appointments and a list of your child’s prescription medications. In addition, you will need to provide information regarding any employers your child currently has or had in the past, wage history and information about your previous employers and wage history.

Gather additional documents and information you will need for your appointment. These items include the Social Security numbers for you and your child, proof of citizenship, records of medical expenses, records of household expenses, you and your child’s contact information, a list of assets and, if applicable, records of military service.

Meet with the SSA caseworker on the appointed day and time. The caseworker will help you fill out the adult child disability benefits application and will make copies of all the documents you brought so you can take the original documents on the same day. At the end of the meeting, the caseworker will give you documents that summarize the information gathered during your appointment and may give you additional instructions. The SSA caseworker will file the disability application on your child’s behalf.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unlike the traditional adult disability application, you cannot fill out the adult child disability application online. You must meet with an SSA caseworker.
  • Keep the appointment with the SSA caseworker even if you do not have all the information needed. The caseworker may be able to verify information she needs through other means or allow you to mail the remaining documents to her office.
  • Keep the documents the SSA caseworker gives you in a safe place. You may need to refer to them in the future.
  • It can take up to five months to learn the determination of your child’s disability application.

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