How long can a child receive Social Security disability?

A child who becomes disabled before age 22 can qualify for Social Security benefits under a parent's earnings record. Social Security continues to pay benefits until age 18 if he or she continues meeting childhood disability guidelines, and indefinitely as an adult-child as long as (s)he meets adult disability guidelines. Once an adult-child is capable of working, (s)he may receive benefits under his/her own earnings record or continue under the parent's record, whichever benefit is higher.

Children who receive benefits as dependents of a disabled parent are paid through the month prior to the month the child turns 18 or, if the child is still in high school or elementary school at that age, may continue receiving benefits beyond age 18 until the end of the school term or two months after his or her 19th birthday, whichever occurs first. SSA extensions are not automatic; the child's representative payee has to contact the Administration to request it.