So You’re Turning 18: What’s Next?

Turning 18
Have a child that is 17 and turning 18 soon? You will want to apply for disability before the individual turns 18. Here's what you need to know.

Disclaimer: The following information is helpful when an individual is turning 18. However, the following is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or medical advice.

A person who is born with, or develops, special needs may require support for the rest of their life. Establishing a special needs or transition plan for the person, based on their family’s needs, can secure the person’s future. When the person is turning 18 years old, they are presumed by law to be capable of making their own decisions. Planning for the future can assist a special needs parent or guardian in deciding what level of support the person may need. Benefits such as SSI

If enrolled on Medicaid under the age of 18 and receiving waiver services, the age limit for this type of Medicaid is 18 years old.  

Medicaid will automatically be canceled unless there is:

-a disability determination from your local Department of Social Services (Medicaid Disability Determination) 

-or the Social Security Administration. 

What Should I Do?

File a SSI application on the child’s behalf the month after they turn 18 years old.

**If you would rather not apply for SSI benefits, contact the local Department of Social Services and request a determination from them.

SSI Application Process for Those Individuals Turning 18:

Visit the Social Security Administration website to complete the online disability application to start the process.

Then, schedule an appointment with a Social Security representative to complete the process. 

To make an appointment, call 1-800- 772-1213 (TTY 1-800- 325-0778). You can call between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local Social Security office. 

Tip: please make this appointment a priority. Additionally, make sure to bring all relevant medical records to your appointment.

The SSA will not process your application unless you have set up a representative payee account so benefits can be deposited electronically. 

Open a representative payee bank account before your appointment. 

Bring the bank: name, address, routing number, and account number to your appointment 

Or have your bank complete a direct deposit form that you can present at your appointment.

Note: If your child has any assets, bring current:

-bank statements

-copies of savings bonds

-and all proof of the current value of the assets. 

If your child has assets but you do not bring proof of their value, the SSA will not process the application until you provide proof. 

*Please Note* A Medicaid recipient can have “no more than $2,000 of assets in his or her name.”

If you have questions, please contact the Social Security Administration. 

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