When a child is diagnosed with a disability before the age of 22 and that child qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, the payments are made to the parent. The Social Security Administration considers those payments as a child's benefits and the earnings are added to the parent's records.
According to the SSA's rules, an adult child must be unmarried, older than the age of 18, have a disability that was diagnosed before the age of 22 and must also meet the eligibility criteria for disabled adults in order to receive SSD benefits under the child's benefit umbrella.
In cases such as this, the child need not have worked ever in order to receive benefits. As mentioned earlier, the child would continue to receive benefits on the parent's earning record. Even if a child has earnings, it should not be more than $1,220 per month, per the SSA's 2019 guidelines.
If an adult child is receiving SSD benefits based on his or her own record, it may be a wise decision to find out whether the benefits can be based on the parent's earning records. Doing this may entitle the child to higher SSD benefits based upon the parent's income, and also entitle the child to receive Medicare benefits.
It is also important to remember that an adult child's disability is determined based upon the criteria that applies to other adults. In the event that the child does not meet those criteria, the benefits may cease. Also, if an adult child who receives SSD benefits gets married, the benefits generally stop after the marriage if the spouse is not disabled. However, if the spouse is also disabled, the SSD benefits continue.