Helping Young People with Disabilities Successfully Transition to Adulthood

foster careThe transition to adulthood can be challenging, especially for young people with disabilities who come from low-income families and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security is with you through life’s journey, helping you secure today and tomorrow. Part of that commitment is creating a path for children with disabilities that leads to rewarding lives as adults.

More than a million children with significant disabilities receive SSI benefits. During the transition years — generally from ages 14 to 18 and beyond — young people with disabilities ideally gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to achieve independence and self-sufficiency. They face significant challenges, as many of the resources and services available to young people with disabilities end when they leave the educational system or reach age 18 and are classified as adults. Turning 18 also triggers an important change in SSI benefits: Social Security must make a new determination on their SSI eligibility using the adult disability standards. About one-in-three such beneficiaries lose their SSI benefits.

It’s critical that young SSI beneficiaries nearing age 18 begin to prepare early. Social Security has policies, resources, and support in place to help, but many people don’t know about them. We recently implemented several new initiatives to help young people and their families prepare for this transition.

We developed a new brochure, What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18, describing key resources and information for young people receiving SSI. It explains the benefit re-determination at age 18 and special SSI work incentives for people participating in special education, Vocational Rehabilitation, or working while attending school.  It also includes information on Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts; health programs; and support from other places, such as American Job Centers. We’re mailing the brochure this month (and each year in the future) to all SSI recipients ages 14 to 17.

We also added a new section to the Red Book, Social Security’s guide to work incentives, consolidating information on programs and resources for young people to help with the transition from school to adulthood. We encourage young people who receive SSI  — and their parents, teachers, service providers, caregivers, or representatives — to use these materials to learn about the many programs and resources available for them.

Social Security also helps young people with disabilities who are about to leave foster care, often at age 18. When foster care ends, they may become eligible for SSI — but in the time period before SSI payments begin, they may be left without any means of support. On August 1, 2016, we expanded the early application period for people leaving foster care from 90 days ahead of the date they leave foster care to 180 days ahead, as a pilot test nationwide.  Starting an SSI application earlier allows for a smoother transition out of foster care for those eligible for SSI as adults.

We’re also active members of the Federal Partners in Transition workgroup, which develops strategies to promote successful youth transitions. You can visit our website to learn more about what we are doing for transition-age youth.

About Susan Wilschke, Deputy Associate Commissioner for
Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support


27 thoughts on “Helping Young People with Disabilities Successfully Transition to Adulthood

  1. It’s time accept that children with extreme ADHD deserve your attention also. I am a grandparent dealing with the issues from birth, as a result of both parents drug use. In addition he has anger issues, ODD. Because of our age, and adoption, he has social security, (he has social security.) He is 10, we became parents for him at 5 weeks. Some days it is difficult—school is a constant struggle. Most teachers have no idea that ADHD affects his ability to do multiplication tables. He I a good reader, but has difficulty putting thoughts to paper. Organization is a problem. To be able to use electronics, computer etc. would be a positive. Elementary does not allow such. Help other parents & grandparents, caregivers to be able to ask for SSDI. And, when you write about other types of caregivers, do NOT leave us out. So many older Americans are now forced to be parents a second time. We, too, need recognition & a shoulder to cry on. BTW, I am 67, husband is 78.

    • There is nothing stopping you from applying for SSI for your grandchild. The article is somewhat confusing. SSI is NOT social security. And SSI is not supposed to prepare one for lifelong dependence upon the government. It is a welfare program administered by the SS Administration. Fortunately, it mentions job incentive programs but too many readers will gloss over that program.

    • Your complaints are valid and misdirected. Agencies do not make the law, and regulations are based on law. You need to work with your congressional office and/or US Senators to update the law if you want changes in or expansion of entitlements. Unfortunately, every time SSA closes an office in NY, Chuck Schumer shows up to blame the agency after he agreed to another budget with reduced funding. I think he knows how government works, he is just terribly disingenuous and dishonest. If you feel the people you elect are not interested in making government work for you, you may wish to stop sending them back every 2 or 6 years. Otherwise, nothing will change for the better.

    • Judy, I commend you for stepping up to the plate to raise your grandchildren at your stage in life. You more than most any others can provide your injured children with the special love and care that only a grandparent can show. I would hope that you, more than others would be encouraged to step in and be provided the financial support that you need and deserve for caring for your adopted children. Your efforts should be applauded!

    • Thanks for letting us know, Muriel. We have repaired the issue and apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

    • Thank you for your comment, Bonnie. We have repaired the issue and apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

  2. The right side of the article is cut off. Can it be republished with all of the words contained and readable? Thank you. I would like to share this with a friend who is in a position to need this information as soon as possible.

    • Thank you for letting us know, Debbie. We have repaired the issue and apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

  3. Every four years I have to jump through hoops to prove my children’s disabilities! I have 3 children with Autism! They are not going to out grow and diagnosed with M.R. I met a women with a Down syndrome child and she has to do the same! Do they think he is going to grow a chromosome? Puts a lot of unnecessary stress on the care givers having to prove over and over again what would be totally obvious if they made a home visit!

  4. There are parents collecting SSI for $733. They apply for SSI for their kids and get their kids to fake a mental illness and receive almost $500 per child with a mental illness. A couple of visits to the psychiatrist/psychologist and their kids will be diagnosed with autism, ADHD, OCD, etc. and then be able to collect the SSI.

    They get free Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing. They don’t have to spend their SSI money on these stuff, so the parents are able to buy brand new Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. You go to the Section 8 projects and you see them driving these fancy cars with taxpayers money.

  5. What about foster parents (who raised a disabled from birth foster baby) and still have to jump thru hoops every 3 years to prove that said adult is still disabled? Do you think the progressive deformities are going to suddenly self cure and correct physical and medical birth defect ? Don’t you have access the all the medical bills that medicaid and medicare continually pay. At one point said child/adult was dropped from medicaid right before a very serious medical out of town surgery was scheduled at IU Med center, resulting in a cancellation and wait to get everything rescheduled after foster child was put back on Medicaid. You can not imagine the fights with gov. and gov mess ups we have gone thru in addition to 24 hour care needed for infant,child,adult……and it still continues. As a child we could always fight and get thru or over the brick wall, but as an uncured adult, one can’t now because medical gov. attitude is, “since no one was able to cure genetic problem in 18 years, said person might as well die so” we”(gov.) can save money or put someone else in his/her spot !!!! It is so sad and heart-breaking! All the PA’s the Specialist’s and we, write now are constantly denied, but are needed to prevent condition from becoming worse and more dibilatating! Now because we are retired & we do not have the monetary resourses or the health, to help said adult, like we used to be able to do! What will happen to said adult when we pass away…..who will be her advocate then. Birth parents have never stepped up to be active in said adult’s life!!!?

  6. All laws or regulations are written with a “cookie-cutter” mentally , so it is like fitting a round peg in a square hole, and don’t work for most “average”people ” so they certainly don’t work for a person born with a rare disability ( probably 30 to 50,000 in US with OI disability)!!!

  7. Well, thank God for SSA. At 50 years of age, I lost the use of my legs and I must say thanks to the Social Security Administration. I would have ended up on the streets without a prayer for a future. I am waiting for them to get me a place to live. When that happens, I can go back to school and hopefully restart my life. Thank you USA. You rock.

  8. My grandson was born deaf. He is now 13 months old and has just had cochlear implants. My daughter and son-in law both work full time. Myself and husband help out as much as we can. Doctors appt and teacher of the dead, physical thurpy, and speech teachers.
    They say if your born deaf, you will automatically get SSI.
    After 7 hours of putting all the information in. They called and had my daughter and husband come to the office to say you have more then 2,000.00 in your checking account. Your child is not entitle to any help. when you have a mortgage payment of 1,800.00. So you work hard and try to do the right thing and you get no help.
    Sad grandmother

    • Their mortgage is less than 30% of their household income. They make more than $4000/month and they want another $733 from SSI(Welfare).

      They better learn from the millions of fraudsters how to hide money from their bank accounts if they want to get that low income disability check for their child.

      • The SSA is too stupid to figure out that people are hiding money to get SSI. If they have a rent or mortgage of $600, then how can they stay in their home for 2 years while they wait for a hearing. If no one is assisting them, then they are hiding money. How is less than $2000 in asset suppose to last them 2 years when they claim they can’t work and are not making any income.

      • The SSI PERC interview must be a joke. These fraudsters get away with everything when the SSA is handing out free SSI disability money.

    • We understand the frustration Cheryl. The Supplemental Security Income or SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. A child under age 18 can qualify for SSI benefits, if he or she has a physical or mental condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. Under current law, we must also consider the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household when deciding if the child is eligible for SSI.

  9. I am deaf person I know more SSI and SS who on them been fraudulent application for payee without fingerprints 10 card at police dept and pay FBI for background first than fraudulent ID name,age

  10. I appreciate how you said that you should support someone with disabilities as they get ready to be an adult. I also like how you said that they should have a plan set up to be successful. My parents are looking into disability support for my younger brother so that he can transition into being an adult with a disability; thanks for the tips.

  11. Hi, I’m trying to get benefit for my son, he have ADHD, I wanna say since he was in 4th grade, behavior change I thought because of Katrina, but I didn’t know anything about ADHD. Since be back one of his teacher in 10th grade notices how he was, so I ask he doctor to check an she says yes he does, now his 19 yrs old and it’s getting worst. So how can I go about getting help.

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