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

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34 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. 09/11/2016 at 7:45 Pm

    I am deaf my name is Kharidja Angelica Nichols aka Carrie Bell Carter 67’s Dob July 22, 1949 both place Little Rock ark

    I am on Social Security Retirement start August 3,2007 Fresno, CA I been work history Colorado , Nevada, California, Arkansas SSI know about me more and I was find out Social Security peoples never doing

    I was missing my old job in Little Rock , Ark Mc Donald been gunman with robbery I saw her breast with boyfriends over my ex job and I been work in Little Rock ark I did report Social Security office and I ever Two SSI and SSA by my mom death I was child she death age 38 only I was live in dorm for the Ark Negro School for the Deaf and Blind Little Rock ark and I have not see my mom because she can’t sign teacher me lear . She love and I love my mom my heart and my grandmother too they death and who was keep me by my mom sister Ms. Osceola Jones use my money she never good to me. She very dangerous person on me (abuse me age at 12 year old and I ever speak out and kick back her many time I very tired of her she love me for abuse me and use pull push my hair shake my hair and I have never have money from my check under Carrie Bell Carter only over Little Rock ark only I never forget about there her own peoples work at Social Security office and Legal Aid and court , Ark State Hospital too. My other Aunt use there she innocent her daughter pick up aunt move live with family member Los Angeles, CA and Many many family member use SSI and our daughter did blackmail and I am witness and I obsessed.
    My grandparent family member are death and Adult did use false Birth Certificate from Death use Social Security number I been doing on Computer System research over Ancestry. Com show who on Social Security and our Employeer never responsible with them and call FBI
    They never Investigation over age . so I did doing with flash Drive but been stolen is 3 time in Greensboro, NC I never plan go printed color Death at Ancestry. Com record mail to Washington, DC there Baltimore. MD did ignore and big mouth info use my name and everybody move hide over Chicago Texas and California many family member use SSI and use SS money from parent
    My own 4 children is growing up and all married, work and section 8 fraudulent application why use my me off. They know my social security number I complaint. I never permission them I was find out about my step sister work at Dept Welfare Staff give her my apply about foodstamp and medical and my aunt give her all my personal ( I ever blow up and not her business ) and she steal my account bank and life and death insurance under Carrie Bell Carter onl . Everybody has lawyer and I never have my lawyer in Little Rock ark and I against Ex President Billy Clinton support them and I saw him with them. They don’t know them. Many family member fraud name, age ss new. There Little Rock ark have not Authorized ( Little Rock Police Officer race is white did told me when I was live at 1800 So Broadway St Apt 912,LR 72206,2000,and I been doing there and I find out about there and against Aunt’s own black peoples and why call use my name Clara Belle Carter. They use prayer to Court they did order aboit y birth certificate been change new color and my name I complaint and I did mail to Batlimore, MD before and I have copies everything color more mail to three Credit Karma for Trans Union, other credit fraud dept.
    My own lawyer in Sacramento, Ca and judge in Fresno too
    They know my plan back Calif again by February 2017. I not safe in Eastern many Criminal at Working and did steal me is 5 time. Why me why. I not safe. And I don’t vote in Greensboro, NC when I back Calif and I will said them I support Republican only DMV and SS Office no matter. So I plan payment to AARP for SOCIAL SECURITY of Long Beach, CA and Washington DC too by October 3. I did get letter they ask me for help with them and there have problems with Social Security Financial who didn’t payment the until 2023.

    I know more SSI very strictly than Social Security because of SS not strictly.
    SSI is rules who not work and must have place with cook, foods without foostamp but many young singles use live with roommate on SSI for school,college why they doing use drug, why buy new car and.many accident not obey law and all must buy bicycle go college and school. Learn lesson.
    I wanted job full time for temporary only I owe bills hospital, doctor and I need Dentist I focused my health and I owe Cigna Health Spring I just payment to Hospital and few bill paid next October I pay to Cigan and I never go get new drug I don’t trust they tried me death I don’t use it and why many million people dies under Medicare is not Covered I find out about it Medicare part. B is not coverage why. I back California again
    NC is not my home. The end thank your honor

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. The transition to adulthood can be challenging, especially for young people with disabilities …..Part of that commitment is creating a path for children with disabilities that leads to rewarding lives as adults.

    I guess the SOCIALIST SECURITY system ran over me on the path for children with disabilities because they have not helped me whatsoever with leading to any rewarding life as an adult. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has been absolutely NO HELP to me at all FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE! I was born with a physical disability and the SOCIALIST SECURITY system has fought against me my entire life to deny me any and all benefits.

    I am 45 years old, a mother of three older children and physically disabled ( I was born with cerebral palsy ). I’ve never collected one red cent of money from the Socialist Security System, even though I have applied several times and they find me disabled.

    Technically, I am an “adult disabled child” (please look this up, it is NOT SSI or SSDI) but have never been able to secure any benefits whatsoever from the Socialist Security system, even under that program because I got married to an “Able bodied person”. The Socialist Security system is too busy paying benefits to some people who scam the system and worrying about adult disabled children (who they pay benefits to off of a parents record) marrying an able bodied person. This gives them the justification to cut off benefits to the adult disabled child because the husband (in theory) can now support the disabled person. This theory works great, if your husband is rich and you have no need for money but what it actually does, is to force two adults (one disabled one able bodied person) to live off of one income. In the real world, the socialist security system is forcing adult disabled children to only marry other disabled persons (and NO able bodied persons) at the threat of loosing any and all benefits that they are entitled to.

    If you are a physically disabled person (an adult disabled child) and you happen to marry an “able bodied person” you will be loosing out on a lifetime of benefits, all because of a one word “rule” that prohibits you from marrying an “able bodied person”. Best of all, they never tell you about their “Rule” so that they can justify cutting off any benefits that you may be due.

    Because you are physically disabled (adult disabled child) and you choose not to marry another adult disabled child or disabled person drawing off socialist security, you WILL LOOSE ANY AND ALL BENEFITS FOR LIFE. This means that the SOCIALIST SECURITY system is TELLING YOU WHO YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MARRY and who you are
    NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY! It is a discriminatory act “rule” and should be ILLEGAL!

    Even though I am permanently and totally disabled, if I marry an “able bodied person”, somehow that marriage makes everything ok and I am no longer considered disabled (in the eyes of the socialist security system). Magically (because I married an able bodied person), the pixie fairies come down and cure my disability, because now I can just go out and find gainful employment, no one will discriminate against my physical disability and everything will be grand, right? Somehow magically, marrying an able bodied person makes my physical disablility dissappear and now I am cured, right? WRONG!

    The issue is a special “Rule” that the Socialist Security System uses to discriminate against “certain” people. If you are a “physically disabled person” (AKA-certain people) and happen to marry an able bodied person, then the SOCIALIST SECURITY system will use special “Rules” to legally discriminate against you and deny you benefits, even if you appeal online.

    The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has caused me a lot of economic hardship all because I married an able bodied person. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system thinks someone who is physically disabled (permanently and totally disabled) marries an “able bodied person”, that somehow magically they are cured of their physical disability and two people can survive off the able bodied persons income. WOW, talk about a bunch of bureaucratic idiotic thinking, that somehow this would not cause a financial hardship….. amazing.

    The rules that the Social Security Administration uses to legally discriminate against persons who are “Adult Disabled Children” who happen to marry an able bodied person, are discriminatory. This is loosely referred to as the “marriage penalty” but I call it exactly what it is, a legal form of discrimination.
    I firmly believe this rule, is an act of bias, prejudice and discrimination against people who (by no fault of their own) are born disabled and happen to marry an able bodied person

    Please write your Congressional Representative and tell them to end this modern day form of Legal Discrimination. In this day of fairness and equality, there are still some people suffering from an outdated and oppressive bureaucratic rule.

    (PS. notice how the only thing any of these SOCIALIST SECURITY workers ever say are quotes of the rules or processes, like a worker drone. They are unable to address any topics that fall outside of their rule books). Typical bureaucracy and bureaucratic responses, like trying to argue over lost change with a vending machine!

  12. 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. http://www.mccallum.org.au/support-coordination

  13. 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.

  14. I’m 17 about to be 18 in a few months and I’m currently receiving SSI disability. I would like to know more on transitioning my benefits as an adult. I don’t know how to do this on my own so if I can get help on process I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Hi, Michelle. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  15. As a representative payee for my son who is now a developmentally disabled adult receiving SSI, I am wondering how I access his Social Security information online? My husband and I are also his legal guardians. The mySocial Security Account rules prohibit me from creating an account for him. I could not find other options on this website. Please advise. Thank you!

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