Skip to Content

Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld

Relentlessly Protecting California Workers' Rights Since 1956

What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI Benefits for Children?


At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our Santa Barbara disability lawyers have protected the rights of California residents since 1956 — including the children and families who have needed our help to obtain the benefits they are entitled to.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are government programs that provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities.

When it comes to SSI and SSDI benefits for children, there are critical differences between the two.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for SSI and SSDI Benefits for Children?

SSI is a need-based program designed to provide financial assistance to disabled individuals, including children, who have limited income and resources. Eligibility is determined based on the child's disability, family income, and available resources.

SSDI program benefits disabled individuals, including adult children, who have worked and paid Social Security taxes. Children can potentially receive benefits based on a parent’s SSDI record, but the parent must be disabled, retired, or deceased.

In addition:

  • Children under 18 may be eligible for SSI benefits if they meet the program’s disability criteria, which include severe impairments that are expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Their family meets the income and resource limits.

    SSI is a need-based program, so the child's family must have limited financial resources.
  • SSDI benefits for children are typically available if they are dependent on a parent who receives SSDI benefits due to disability, retirement, or death. The child’s eligibility for SSDI benefits is primarily tied to their parent’s work history and eligibility.

    The child's income and resources are generally not considered when determining eligibility. Children receiving benefits through a parent's SSDI record do not need to meet the same disability criteria as adults.

However, they must be:

    • Under the age of 18 or up to age 19 if still in high school full-time.
    • Disabled adult children may also be eligible if they become disabled before the age of 22.

It is essential to note that these programs can be complex, and the specific rules and requirements to successfully apply for benefits can change from year to year. To determine your child’s eligibility and apply for SSI or SSDI benefits, contact our experienced California disability attorneys today for help.

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. 

Share To: