What Are Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) and do I qualify?

Childhood disability benefits (CDB) are benefits available to a qualified disabled “adult child” whose disability began before they became 22 years old.  CDB benefits are considered a “child” benefit because they are based on the Social Security Disability Insurance (DIB) record of a parent.  The parent must have earned sufficient credits to qualify the child for DIB benefits.  A parent’s Social Security benefits are not affected by the award of CDB benefits.  The benefit of using a parent’s DIB record for CDB is that the adult child does not have to meet the limited income and resources requirement if applying for SSI.  The CDB benefits will likely be higher than other benefits for which the adult child may qualify.

Requirements to Qualify for CDB Benefits

An adult disabled before the age of 22 qualify for “child’s” CDB benefits if a parent: 

• Is receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits; or

• Has died and worked enough to qualify for Social Security.

In a CDB case, Social Security decides whether the adult child is disabled based on the rules for adult disability. To qualify for CDB benefits, the adult child must have become disabled prior to age 22.  The adult child must also now be 18 years old or older and not earned income that exceeds substantial gainful activity amounts.  In addition, marital status may affect whether or not he or she is qualified for CDB.  CDB benefits generally end if the adult child gets married, but some marriages, such as a marriage to another disabled adult child are protected.  Qualifying for CDB benefits as an adult child can also be affected by the status of familial relationships.

Medical and other evidence provided to Social Security must prove that the adult child was disabled from medically determinable impairment(s) prior to the age of 22. It is critically important to have the child’s physician clearly document all of the information concerning the adult child’s disability, including objective medical evidence, such as signs and laboratory findings. 

Other Social Security Benefits for which an Adult Child may qualify

They may be eligible for SSI benefits if income and resource requirements are met.  In some cases, a person may be able to get SSI benefits on their own, and also get additional CDB benefits based on the record of a deceased, disabled, or retired parent or guardian. For an adult child receiving SSI benefits, or DIB disability benefits on his or her own record should check to see if CDB benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record. 

Contact a Social Security Disability Representative for Help

A Social Security disability representative can assist you with your child’s claim. Contact an experienced Social Security disability representative at Cardea Disability, LLC at 334-440-6261.