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Social Security is not just for the elderly. Thousands of Americans, young and old, receive Social Security benefits for their disabilities. Many of these are based on their work history. Like with retirement plans from Social Security, the Social Security Administration (SSA) pays benefits to those who have amassed “work credits” through years of working and paying their FICA taxes.

However, thousands of people are financially provided-for by their spouses, or are too young to have acquired work credits. Because of this, many can use their spouse’s work credits – or their parents’ credits. Fayetteville Social Security Disability lawyer Ken Kieklak will explain five ways that disabled children and young people throughout Arkansas may be able to use their parents’ work credits to seek disability benefits.

Ways to Receive SSD Through Your Parents in Arkansas

Social Security Disability (SSD) is paid through one of two processes: either your work credits make you eligible for disability payments (as they do retirement payments), or your need for payments is so great the SSA will pay you Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for your disability. Using the second SSI system is often available as a last-resort to those without work credits of their own.

The SSA prefers to pay benefits through work credits. Since the FICA taxes that every worker in the country pays, the SSA prefers that benefits are paid to those who paid into the Social Security system. However, the SSA may also allow you to use your parent’s work history to supply you with SSD under the following circumstances:

1. Survivor Benefits

Many children in Arkansas become disabled during tragic accidents – and many times their parents do not survive. Alternatively, children who often need additional income from the SSA are those who do not have parents who can pay for their needs. Fortunately, you may be able to use your parent’s work credits if they are deceased. If your father or mother worked for many years, their work credits may be able to supply the payments for your SSD needs. These “survivor benefits” are available to children and spouses.

Social Security Payments Through Retired Parents

2. You are Under 18

If your parents are already retired or are drawing from their Social Security, you may be able to piggy-back on their benefits. Children of retirees or disabled parents can use their parents’ work credits to receive up to 50% of their parents’ benefits for their own disability. One way for this to work is if you are under 18. The minor children of retirees can claim these benefits through their parents if they are disabled.

3. High School Students 19 and Under

Similarly to the minor children of retirees or disability recipients, you can draw on your parents’ work credits for SSD if you are 19 years old or younger and still in high school. This rule can be especially helpful for those who were injured in accidents with their parents. Car accidents and other catastrophic injuries could put parents and their children both at need for disability payments. Fortunately, this rule allows children to claim disability through their parents, even if they were injured at 18 or 19 years old.

4. Disabilities Before You Were 22

Many children and young people with disabilities have faced these hardships their entire life. Many disorders, like Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder, are the result of genetic disorders we carry since birth. Children who received their disability before they turned 22 years old can typically claim disability through their parents. There may be reductions in the amount of benefits if they are claimed before the parent reaches full retirement age. It is important to talk to a disability attorney to understand how this works.

Disability for Children and Young Adults

5. Seek Need-Based SSI

This option actually does not use your parents’ work history at all. Rather than seeking disability benefits through any work history, you may be able to apply for SSI. This is usually available to all Americans, regardless of their work history. While the SSA aims to pay disabled and retired workers benefits that result from years of paying into Social Security, there are amounts set aside for those who really need it. In order to qualify for SSI, you must follow the same disability requirements as SSD. In addition, you must have a financial need for these benefits, and have no alternative method of gaining benefits through a parent or spouse. For help understanding your qualifications and application process, talk to a disability attorney today.

Arkansas Disability Lawyer for Children and Young Adults

Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, works to help Arkansans of all ages and incomes receive disability benefits they may need. For a free consultation on your eligibility and qualifications for disability benefits, contact Arkansas disability lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 439-1843.