When a child turns 18, and reaches the age of majority, they are able to make decisions for themselves and their parents no longer have the legal capability to do so. Sometimes it takes time for a special needs adult to get hired. This may happen at any time between age 18 and 23, depending on the state and the child's particular needs. The SSA uses a different test to determine benefits eligibility for adults than for minors. Find out about the SSI rules regarding payment of room and board, if the child will continue to live with the you. Once a child reaches 18, these benefits are based on his or her own assets. As a legal adult, a child may assume some or all of the educational rights previously held by the parent. In order to receive benefits, the child must meet the government's disability standard, have less than $2,000 in assets and receive minimal income. Many people do not work because they are scared that they may lose benefits if they work. Find out if the child can remain on the parent’s health care until age 26 and if so how this coordinates with other benefits under SSI or SSDI. This way, your special needs child can draw government benefits while also receiving supplemental support from a trust. Working can be a great way for special needs adults to earn some additional income. File for SSI when the child turns 18, and have your child declared “disabled” before he or she turns 22. Investigate ABLE accounts and what benefits they offer. As a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planner I work very hard to stay informed and enjoy working with families with special needs children to help them develop a plan for the future. Once a child is age 18, the parent is no longer the child's legal guardian. These goals allowed her to learn necessary skills to get and keep a job as a cashier. An elder law colleague recently shared a list she put together for her clients who have special needs children. This holds true for grandparents or other family members who want to leave money to the child. Don’t wait until your child is 18. Turning 18 is a big deal, not just from a parent's emotional perspective, but legally too. Other ways to protect the assets of your special needs child is by creating a first or third-party trust. File for SSI when the child turns 18, and have your child declared “disabled” before he or she turns 22. Once a child reaches 18, these benefits are based on his or her own assets. MY SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD IS TURNING 18 WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE? You should identify the support required for your child and ask what other support they need, while they’re transitioning. The child is now an adult, and while many responsibilities now shift from the parent to the child, parents still want to be involved in helping their young adult make decisions. 3 Things to Consider When Your Special Needs Child Turns 18. Having a special needs child has many challenges. It is a milestone in every parent’s life when a child turns 18. Once a child reaches age 18, she qualifies for SSI based on her own income and assets. Any use of the information contained on this website and the transmittal of information to email addresses obtained from this website shall not give you any basis for a belief that such use creates an attorney-client relationship. In most states, when a child turns 18, she’s considered an adult. By: Contributor. ©2016 MCLINBURNSED ATTORNEYS AT LAW. However, when your child turns 18, your income is not considered, even if your child is still living in your home. Let’s take a look at some of these areas. When your child turns 18 years of age, he or she is an adult. During childhood, the public education system provides for the bulk of the care, structure, and services that a special needs child requires. 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