Applying for SSI Disability Benefits for Your Adopted Child with Down Syndrome

Applying for SSI Disability Benefits for Your Adopted Child with Down Syndrome

Social Security benefits accomplish many important social goals. They help individuals and families meet the costs of daily living, prevent elderly and people with disabilities from being financially devastated by medical costs, and give children the opportunity to grow up in a healthy and secure environment.

Each year, millions of children in the United States receive monthly Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits due to their own disability, or on behalf of a parent. These payments help strengthen the household financial situation at a difficult time. If you have adopted a child with Down syndrome, you naturally want to give him or her a happy and enriched life, and SSA benefits help make it possible.

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

Many children with Down syndrome are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This program provides monthly payments to children with disabilities from lower-income homes. To determine eligibility, the SSA reviews the income and resources of parents applying on behalf of a child under age 18.

Your specific household income threshold will vary depending on whether one or two parents are present, and how many children there are (in addition to your child with Down syndrome). For example, a single parent with no other children can make up to $3,057 in gross monthly income, while a two-parent family with two other children is capped at $4,525. You can get your exact income limit by viewing a chart on the SSA’s website.

Income thresholds are the most common reasons for a child with Down syndrome to be denied Social Security benefits. Once your child with Down syndrome turns 18, your income will no longer be evaluated. It is often much easier for 18-year-old children to qualify than younger kids.

Auxiliary Benefits for Children with Down Syndrome

SSI benefits may not be your child’s only option. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) due to your own illness, or retirement benefits, any legally adopted children may also be entitled to benefits, provided they are under 18, unmarried, and dependent on you. Children over 18 who became disabled before age 22 (anyone with Down syndrome) can receive auxiliary benefits throughout their entire lives. They are considered an “adult child” by the SSA and receive benefits as if they are under age 18. Your son or daughter will receive up to 50% of your total monthly benefit.

It is important to note that the adoption process must be completed for your child to receive auxiliary benefits under your account.

How to Medically Qualify for SSI Benefits with Down Syndrome

To qualify for SSI benefits your child must meet a listing in the Blue Book, the official SSA guidebook for disabling conditions. Down syndrome is specifically referenced in section 110.06- Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome.

Most children who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome have a ‘non-mosaic’ type, either Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome, which are characterized by an extra 21st chromosome on each cell. Children with Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome considered disabled from birth, as intellectual and neurological issues, heart problems, and other complications often accompany the condition.

If your child has Mosaic Down syndrome, he or she could still qualify. You will just need more medical evidence showing that intellectual or physical illnesses keep your child from participating in typical activities, like going to school or playing with other children.

The Supplemental Security Income Application Process

When you apply for SSI benefits for your child with Down syndrome, the SSA will take a look at your household income to confirm that it falls below the approved limit. You will also have to fill out a detailed application form, be interviewed by a Social Security Administration representative, and submit medical documentation like the following:

  • A lab report detailing the child’s karyotype analysis OR
  • A medical report confirming that the child has a chromosome 21 trisomy or translocation as well as the physical characteristics of Down syndrome OR
  • A report stating that the child functions at a level consistent with non-mosaic Down syndrome


For more information on how to apply for SSA benefits on behalf of your adopted child with Down syndrome, visit the SSA’s website to learn about the materials you’ll need, make an appointment at your local SSA office, or call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. The extra financial support help your child grow up happy and healthy.

This article was provided by Disability Benefits Help. If you have any questions on the process or how your child could qualify for Social Security disability benefits with Down syndrome, you can reach our staff at