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At 18 your disabled child is eligible for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, benefits which can be preserved even if you or others make contributions to a Special Needs Trust or ABLE account to supplement these or other means-tested public benefits. If your child was disabled before age 22, this is also the time to get in line for Childhood Disability Benefits available to a Disabled Adult Child when you retire or die or if you become disabled. Your child will then receive the equivalent of 50% of your Social Security retirement benefit (75% when you die) and, in 24 months, be eligible for Medicare. Depending on their income, Medicaid will pay the premium and part or all of the deductible and copays and provide extra help with prescription drugs.

Read more of this article at Social Security Matters, Margaret A. Graham, Esq. shares 5 Things to Know When Your Child with Disabilities Turns 18.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, CELA, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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