(Updated 2018) What determines a disabled adult child, and what Social Security benefits can they receive?
A disabled adult child, or “DAC,” is an individual 18 years or older with a disability that began before they reached age 22. Such an individual is considered a disabled adult child because the Social Security benefits which they receive are based on the earning records of their parents.
When the parent of a disabled adult child retires, the DAC is entitled to receive 50% of the parent’s retirement benefit. For example, if the child is currently receiving income at the current Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rate of $750 and he/she is eligible for $790 from the parent’s retirement benefits, the child receives $790 – the child is entitled to accept the higher amount.
When a disabled adult child’s parent dies, the benefit is increased to 75% of the parent’s retirement benefit. If the surviving parent also dies, the DAC may contact the Social Security Administration to apply to switch over to the higher benefits.