How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay Per Child?

November 23, 20221

When a parent is receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, their children may also qualify to receive benefits based on the parent’s work history.

Sadly, many people do not know the conditions to qualify for disability benefits. This blog post explains Social Security Disability benefits, and how a disabled parent can increase the amount of their monthly benefit because they are also supporting children. This is different from a disabled child being eligible to receive an SSI benefit based on their own disability.

Instead, we will describe how the system allows families to receive more in benefits than a person living with no dependent children in their household.

How the Parent’s SSD Benefit is Determined (Child’s Benefit Is Based On This)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the same formula to determine the amount of an SSD recipient’s benefit as it uses when determining a person’s Social Security Retirement benefit. Both of these benefit amounts are based on the recipient’s average lifetime earnings. 

The government looks at the 35 years in which you earned the highest income and then takes those 35 figures and “indexes” them.

Indexing is a process the SSA uses to compare each of your annual incomes with the average income for the nation that year.

Through indexing, your numbers get adjusted to account for the rise in cost of living and inflation. Then, all 35 of your indexed annual incomes get added together and divided by 35.

That figure is then divided by 12 to produce your Average Indexed Monthly Income, or AIME.

Your Social Security Disability monthly benefit amount is found by running the amount of your AIME through the following formula:

(Let’s say your AIME is $5,015)

  • Add 90% of the first $1,024 of the AIME = $921.60, plus
  • 32% of the AIME between $1,024 and $6,172 = $1,277.12, plus
  • 15% of the AIME over $6,172 = 0.00

$921.60 + $1,277.12 + $0.00 = $2,198.72

  • Round down to the nearest $0.10 (if not already a multiple of .10) = $2,198.70

The final figure is called your Primary Insurance Amount, or your PIA. This is the amount you can expect to receive in your monthly Social Security Disability benefit payment for you alone.

Which Children Can Get Social Security Disability Benefits from a Disabled Parent?

To qualify for children’s benefits through a parent’s disability, the following conditions must be met:

  • the child(ren) is unmarried, and
  • younger than 18 years old, or
  • the child is under 19 years of age and is enrolled in secondary school (high school).

If a child is over 18 and is disabled and becomes disabled before age 22, they may receive Social Security Disability benefits based on their parent’s PIA. They may even receive those SSD benefits if their parent was merely “insured” by SSD, meaning that they qualified for SSD benefits by earning enough work credits.

How Social Security Determines the Amount You Receive for Each Child

Social Security Disability will pay the child of a disabled person receiving SSD payments an amount up to half the monthly benefit the parent receives. 

If the disabled parent’s monthly SSD benefit payment is $1,450, then a child would qualify for a monthly benefit of $725. 

Maximum Family Benefit — While a child can receive as much as 50% of the parent’s benefit amount, if the disabled parent has two or more eligible children, then the 50% benefit is divided evenly among them. The SSD program implements a maximum family benefit amount that cannot exceed between 150% and 180% of the parent’s monthly benefit amount.

Grandchildren Dependents of Disabled Grandparents Can Get SSD Benefits

The child-of-a-disabled parent payment arrangement works similarly in scenarios in which a disabled grandparent receiving SSD benefits is caring for their grand children.

For grandchildren living with a disabled grandparent (or stepparent) to qualify to receive benefit payments, the following circumstances must be present:

  • child’s natural parents are dead,
  • the disabled grandparent (or stepparent) provides regular support to the child,

the grandchildren lived with you for the 12-month period immediately preceding their becoming eligible for SSDI or, if under 12 months old, they have lived with you for substantially their entire lives, and

  • you are the source of at last half of their financial support.

Disabled Children of Adult SSD Benefit Recipients

If you are receiving SSD benefits and you have a disabled child, even if the child is an adult, they may be eligible to receive as much as up to 50% of your monthly benefit.

To qualify, the child’s disability needed to begin before they turn 22 years old. If that situation applies to you and your child, then you should contact an experienced disability lawyer near you right away.

Finally, on Social Security Disability Benefits

If your disabled child does qualify, even as an adult, then they will continue to receive their SSD benefit payments for as long as their disability continues, even if the parent’s own disability improves.


The Clauson Law Firm specializes in helping disabled individuals and families receive the maximum benefit payments for which they are eligible. Contact us today for all the answers you need.

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