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If you're a disabled parent, don't forget benefits for the kids

Suffering a disabling injury or illness is something that is very personal. Typically, the effects of the accident or disease are localized in just one person's body. What that means is that it can be easy to overlook the likelihood that there are others who are dependent on the victims.

Those who created the Social Security Disability Insurance system in place in California and the rest of the country had an appreciation for the fact that when it comes to social safety nets, there are often whole families who need the help. For that very reason, government rules state that children of parents who are disabled, retired or who have died may be eligible for SSDI benefits. And if disability benefits aren't available, Supplement Security Income may be.

Indeed, the Social Security Administration estimates that there are currently more than 4 million children receiving some $2.5 billion in disability benefits every month because of the Social Security taxes their parents paid into the system. What that money serves to do is to provide recipients with a measure of financial stability.

Of course, there are limits on who can receive the benefits and for how long. To be eligible, a child must be the natural, adopted or a dependent stepchild of a disabled parent. The child must also be single. He or she must be younger than 18. If a child is still in high school, though, he or she may keep receiving benefits until age 19. Benefits may be sought beyond age 18 if a child has a disability that started before age 22.

Safety nets by their very nature are not without holes. To be sure you understand where gaps may exist and all that is required to obtain benefits, we encourage you to visit this related page to learn more.

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