SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security also offers another program called SSDI, the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

It is tied to the Social Security retirement program, but it's for people who are disabled before retirement age.

Your child may be able to get SSDI if one of their parents:

  • Is retired, deceased, OR disabled themselves and is collecting SSDI, and

  • Has worked and paid into the Social Security system for at least 10 years

If your child is 17 or younger:

  • They may collect benefits until they turn 18, or 19 if enrolled in school

If your child is 18 or older:

  • They may qualify for SSDI based on their own work record

  • They may qualify under your work record and get benefits for life. In this case, their disability must have started before age 22

Good news: if you apply for SSI for your family member, then Social Security will tell you if they can also get SSDI. Some people get a combination of both.


Sources: Social Security, Jackins (2010),