Does a Child's SSI Count as Income for the Family?

Supplemental Security Income for children is only available for those youngsters who are blind or disabled. Such young people are either under age 18, or under 22 and enrolled in school.

Child Support and SSI Payments

When children are under 18, unmarried and living at home with parents who don’t receive SSI, the Social Security Administration might consider some of the parental resources and income as if they were available to the child, but not the other way around. If a child lives with a stepparent and a parent, the former’s income and resources are also partly considered. The SSA refers to this as deeming. Certain types of parental income do not count towards deeming. These include needs-based Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, court-ordered child support payments, income tax refunds and parents receiving both wages and unearned income, such as Social Security or a pension. If the state supplements the federal benefits, that amount is not considered by the SSA for deeming purposes. The SSA will take deductions from any income deemed for the parents, as well as other children living at home. Once these deductions are subtracted, the SSA then uses that amount to determine whether the child meets the SSI requirements for monthly payments.

SSI State Benefits

Exactly half of the states supplement SSI for children through direct administration. SSA administers state supplements for children in nine states, including California and New York. Nevada only supplements blind children, while Montana only supplements those children who are blind and disabled and living in foster homes. The remaining states do not supplement the SSI federal benefit.

Social Security Survivor Benefits for Children

If a parent dies, the child may receive Social Security survivor benefits. Qualifying children must be younger than 18, or up to 19 if still in high school. Those 18 or older may qualify if they have a disability that began before reaching the age of 22. The family may qualify for up to half of the deceased parent’s full retirement or disability benefit. A child’s survival benefit claim may add up to 75 percent of the late parent’s basic Social Security benefit. Limits, however, are in place. The maximum payment for a family ranges from 150-to-180 percent of the late parent’s full benefit amount. Should the family total exceed that amount, each person’s benefit is proportionately reduced, except for the surviving parent, until the maximum allowable amount is obtained.

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