Once a child goes to college, they generally cannot keep receiving Social Security disability. Most college students are at least 18 — the age cutoff to collect benefits as a dependent child. However, under certain conditions, a college student between the ages of 18 and 22 may continue to receive benefits as a child, through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It is also possible for some college students to receive benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as adults. The following sections describe the situations where college students may receive disability.

If you have questions about if social security benefits are allowed for children over 18 in college, a Social Security disability lawyer can help. For a free consultation, call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800.

Receiving SSDI as a College Student

SSDI recipients can receive additional benefits beyond their base award for each dependent child in their household. However, the SSA defines a dependent child as one who is 17 years or younger. Once a child reaches 18, whether they are in college or not, they are no longer eligible for SSDI as a child.

Nevertheless, there is one major exception to this rule. If a person becomes disabled before age 22, and whose parent receives SSDI or is deceased, they can collect SSDI under the parent’s record. To qualify as disabled, the student must meet the SSA’s criteria for an adult disability and not a child disability.

When a student between ages 18 and 22 becomes disabled and applies for benefits under their parent’s record, the SSA will review the student’s application and medical records, evaluating it on five criteria:

  • How serious is the student’s condition?
  • Is it listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of disabling conditions?
  • Can the student work?
  • Can the student return to any job they have held in the past?
  • Is the student capable of doing any other type of work for which they are qualified?

SSDI Benefit Amounts for College Students

When a college student receives SSDI on their parent’s record, they are eligible for half of what the parent receives. The parent’s benefit is based on their work history and payroll tax contributions.

So, if a college student becomes disabled at 19 and their parent already receives Social Security benefits of $2,000 per month, the child would be eligible for $1,000 per month or less, dependent upon if there are additional dependents in the home.

An SSDI recipient may receive no more than 150 to 180 percent of their base amount, no matter how many dependents they have. Suppose, then, that the student’s parent who receives $2,000 per month has four dependents. The absolute most they are eligible for is $3,600, or 180 percent of their base. In this scenario, the extra $1,600 for dependents gets split four ways, so each child receives only $400.

To learn more about SSDI, call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800.

Receiving SSI as a College Student

A college student may only receive SSI if they qualify as an adult. The medical requirements are the same as for SSDI. The student must also meet the program’s income and asset requirements. If the student makes too much money or has a net worth that is too high, they will not qualify for SSI. If they are a dependent of their parents, then Social Security will look at their parents’ income and net worth.

In some cases, a child is unable to qualify for SSI despite a disability because their parents make too much money. When the child becomes independent, meaning they live on their own and their parents no longer claim them as a dependent, they might be able to receive SSI, particularly if they have a low income and few assets.

Working as a College Student While Receiving Social Security Disability

In certain situations, college students who receive Social Security can work without losing their benefits. As of 2018, SSDI allows a student collecting benefits to earn as much as $1,180 per month.

If the student receives SSI and tries to work, their income might count against their disability and reduce their benefit. If they make too much money, they could lose their SSI altogether.

If you are in college and have questions about how working will affect your disability payments, a lawyer can sit down with you, review your situation, and let you know your options. Call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800, today.

For a Free Social Security Disability Case Evaluation, Call 865-566-0800 Today

The Disability Advantage Group, focuses on Social Security disability law. Our attorneys are here to help with any questions or issues you have regarding Social Security. To schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation, call our office today at 865-566-0800.