How Does My Daughter Switch Over from SSI to SSDI, and Maintain her Medicaid?

 In Special Needs Planning

Question:

My daughter is 32 and receives SSI – she has cerebral palsy. My husband and I are over 65, still working, and I plan to start collecting social security. Will my daughter automatically be moved to SSDI? Do we have to apply for Medicaid for her once she no longer collects SSI? Thank you.

Response:

The ability for individuals who were disabled before age 22 to switch from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) when a parent passes away or begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits can be a great benefit. Unlike SSI, SSDI benefits are not based on the beneficiary’s income or assets. In addition, the SSDI benefits are often higher than SSI’s monthly payment. While this change should be automatic, it is not. You or your daughter, or both, will have to call the Social Security Administration or visit a local office to make sure that the change occurs.

But when the government giveth, it also taketh. As you know, Medicaid health care coverage comes automatically with SSI eligibility. Medicare coverage, which is often less comprehensive, comes with SSDI benefits, but only after a two-year wait. In order to maintain your daughter’s Medicaid coverage, you will have to apply separately to your state’s Medicaid agency.

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