A question about household and parental income for an SSI adult child with special needs

Hello, We have an adopted daughter with special needs. She has cerebral palsy and is mental/developmentally delayed due to neglect and premature birth. When she came to us, she was receiving SSI benefits along with her twin sister. That continued until the adoption was finalized and they took into account our total household income. We kind of thought that it was hard but we accepted that and moved on.

She is now eighteen and a senior in high school. She is still significantly delayed and we were told by the school that she should be able to qualify under her own income, which is and always will be nothing. We called social security and were told that as long as she lives in our house they will take the total household income. Others have told us that is not the case. We would love to be able to get the help for her that she still needs but are not sure how to go about this.

My main question is about the income qualification. We have not yet but will be keeping guardianship for her. Her sister is fine and will be independent and work and all kinds of awesome things.

Does the total household income affect her or would it be just her own? What are our options? Thanks so much in advance for your help!

Your income will not affect your daughter being able to apply and being approved for SSI. At the age of eighteen, parental income does not count toward her eligibility for SSI disability benefits. The only thing that might lessen the amount is her living arrangement. If there are four of you in the household, she would be responsible for one fourth of the total necessary bills (rent, mortgage, power, water, heating). Social Security does not require that she pay a share of things like phone serve or cable (not necessary expenses).

If she is unable to pay her fair share with the full amount payable for SSI monthly benefits, then her amount would be less than the full amount. But she would still be eligible for Medicaid if she does not already have it.

I hope this answers your question.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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