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If I got SSI benefits as a child, what happens when I turn 18?

Supplemental Security Income is a program that provides benefits to people who are disabled, blind or 65 and older and meet certain requirements for income and resources. It is also available to children who meet the criteria to get benefits. What New Jersey residents who receive SSI benefits as children should be aware of is that there will be a redetermination when they turn 18. This does not automatically mean that the person cannot get SSI benefits any longer when turning 18.

The SSA will conduct a review of the person's eligibility to keep getting SSI. This is contingent on the adult rules rather than the rules for children. The recipient will generally receive a notification within a year of their 18th birthday that a redetermination will take place. When the medical review takes place, the SSA will ask the person: what medicines he or she takes; if there were admissions to the hospital and surgical procedures; if there were visits to doctors or medical facilities; if the person worked or did the equivalent; if he or she was given therapy and counseling; if there was attendance at a school or special classes; and if there are teachers and counselors who are knowledgeable about the person's condition.

Medical professionals and staff members will determine if the person still meets the requirements to get SSI. Statistically, approximately one out of every three children who were getting SSI will have their benefits stop when they turn 18 after a redetermination. The SSA will inform the person in a letter as to the decision. Just as an applicant has the right to appeal a decision when first applying, it is possible to file an appeal after a redetermination when the person turns 18. Appealing within 10 days of getting the letter informing the person that benefits are ending will allow the continuation of SSI while the appeal moves forward.

When a person who is getting SSI as a child approaches age 18, it is imperative to understand that the SSA will be reviewing the benefits to decide if they should continue into adulthood. It is possible that they will decide to approve the continuation of benefits. Even if they do not, there is the appeals process and there might be other programs that the person is eligible to receive. Having legal advice and assistance from an attorney who understands all areas of Supplemental Security Income can help to explain the process and to know how to approach all eventualities.

Source: ssa.gov, "What You Need To Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18, pages 1-2," accessed on March 5, 2018

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