After a Claimant has applied for Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits, s/he must then present objective evidence in support of her/his assertion that the disability began prior to age 22. It is especially important to retain medical and school records during the ages 18-21, as though these documents were made of gold!
The DAC benefit program was designed for adult children who likely did not get an opportunity to work long enough to earn work credits on his/her own Social Security account. And, if the adult child has an eligible parent – one who is deceased, retired or receiving disability, then s/he should be encouraged to initiate a claim for DAC benefits.
Of considerable importance, it should be noted that there is no age limit as to when an adult child may initially apply for DAC benefits! Case in point – A disabled adult, age 27, has been deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration and is now receiving SSI benefits only. If s/he then becomes a technically eligible adult disabled child because a parent started receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the disabled adult should see whether s/he may be able to submit an application for DAC benefits. An approval of DAC benefits would likely increase the disabled adult child’s monthly benefit and allow him/her to become eligible for Medicare benefits.
Another example – a disabled adult, age 32, was already receiving SSDI benefits based upon his own work history and earned work credits. However, he subsequently learns of the DAC benefits and has a deceased parent. The disabled adult should look into whether he may be able to obtain a higher monthly benefit based upon the parent’s account.
However, in these cases, as is all DAC claims, the claimant MUST show a disability prior to age 22. It is critical for families and claimants to save childhood IQ examination results, for if the disability is due, at least in part, to a diminished IQ or even mental retardation, the Administration needs those childhood IQ scores. Additionally, other supporting evidence is necessary to determine the claimant’s medical eligibility – special education evaluations that memorialized the student’s accommodations at school, report cards, diagnostic reports, treatment records, and mental health notes are all examples of highly important documents to be submitted in support of a DAC claim.
Medical providers are not required to hold onto these records forever. Most providers and facilities only retain these records for 7 years; although, it should be noted that if a private practice physician retires or passes away, it is often extremely difficult to track down the location of any archived records. Consequently, families with disabled children should work hard to keep a copy of any medical and education records.