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Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld

Relentlessly Protecting California Workers' Rights Since 1956

Understanding Childhood Disability Benefits


Since 1956, our Santa Barbara lawyers at Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld have understood how vital childhood disability benefits are to the livelihoods of eligible kids throughout California.

Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) provide financial support to children with disabilities. They are a type of Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit available to the children of individuals who are either receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Retirement benefits or who were eligible for those benefits before they passed away.

Here are some key points to understand about Childhood Disability Benefits.

The Childhood Disability Benefits Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for CDB, a child must meet the following criteria:

  • Be unmarried.
  • Be under the age of 18 or up to age 19 if still attending high school full-time.
  • Have a qualifying disability that began before the age of 22.
  • Have a parent who is receiving SSDI or Social Security Retirement benefits or who was eligible for these benefits at the time of their death.

The child must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. The impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

The parent of the disabled child must have worked and paid Social Security taxes (FICA) for a sufficient number of quarters to be eligible for SSDI or retirement benefits. The exact work history requirements can vary depending on the parent’s age when they became disabled or retired.

What is the Application Process for Childhood Disability Benefits

The CDB application process involves providing detailed information about the child’s disability, medical records, and other relevant documentation, which can be challenging to navigate without an attorney. We can help.

Our skilled California disability attorneys have been helping individuals and families access the benefits they are entitled to for over six decades and can provide the legal guidance they need to obtain benefits without the challenges many endure when they file a claim independently.

CDB recipients may undergo periodic reviews to determine if they continue to meet the eligibility criteria. These reviews typically occur when the child reaches certain milestones, such as turning 18 or graduating high school. We can also help with the review process so their disability benefits remain intact.

What Type of Benefits are Disabled Children Able to Obtain?

The amount of CDB a child can receive is based on the parent’s work history and Social Security earnings record. The child can receive up to 50% of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit.

Children receiving CDB may also be eligible for other government assistance programs, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, depending on their financial circumstances and the severity of their disability.

If a parent receiving Social Security benefits passes away, the child may be eligible for Survivors Benefits. This is a separate benefit available to surviving children and widowed spouses.

To learn about your child’s eligibility for benefits, contact our skilled disability attorneys in California for help today.

We have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more. 

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