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What happens when a youth receiving SSI benefits turns 18?


When a Houston resident who has yet to reach legal adulthood is receiving Supplemental Security Income, it can be worrisome as to what will happen when he or she turns 18. Understanding what happens in these circumstances can help to assuage these concerns. The first thing to recognize is that there are factors that are key to continuing to receive benefits.

When a recipient turns 18, the individual's disability will be placed under review to see if the requirements for SSI are still being met. In these instances, the rules for adults will be applicable rather than those for children, which includes eligibility rules for non-medical issues. This is referred to as the age-18 redetermination. The claimant will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration asking for the medications that the person takes, if there were stays in the hospital or surgical procedures done, if there were visits to medical professionals, what work activity was conducted, if there was therapy and counseling, if the claimant needed special schooling, and the names and contact information for educators and counselors who have knowledge of the condition.

Medical professionals and other experts will consider whether the claimant still meets the requirements for SSI. Statistically, one-third of those who receive SSI as youths have been approved to continue getting SSI as adults. The claimant will be notified of the decision by mail. If the claim is denied, it is possible to appeal. The written appeal must be sent within 60 days from the date the letter from the SSA is received. Appealing within 10 days of getting the letter will allow the claimant to continue getting SSI while the appeal is pending.

There are other aspects of these situations that can be important to understand, including incentives, continued payments, and benefits for those who are students. These issues will be discussed at another time. For now, those who are turning 18 and are concerned about SSI benefits and the redetermination may want to think about having legal assistance to assist them fighting to keep the benefits they have come to rely upon.

Source: Social Security Administration, "What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18, pages 1-3," accessed on Nov. 14, 2016

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