Parent Focus: Turning 18

Benefits That End and Benefits That Start

Some programs help children, while others help adults. When your child becomes an adult, he or she will no longer qualify for some benefits and may qualify for others instead.

Your Child Will Not Qualify You for CalWORKs

If your family gets benefits from CalWORKs, when your child turns 18 (or 19 if still in school), he or she will no longer count as a child for CalWORKs. This means your family’s CalWORKs benefits may go down or stop.

Social Security Child’s Benefits Are Only for Children

If your child gets Social Security Child’s Benefits based on your or your spouse’s Social Security work record, these benefits will end when your child turns 18, unless he or she is still in high school or doing another form of secondary education. In that case, they end at 19. If your child stops getting Child’s Benefits, he or she may be able to start getting Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) benefits instead.

Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) Benefits Might Start

Social Security Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) benefits help adults with disabilities who are 18 or older with money each month. If your child gets CDB benefits for two years, he or she will also qualify for Medicare health coverage.

Your child may qualify for CDB if he or she:

  • Has a disability that began before turning 22 and meets Social Security’s definition of disability for adults
  • Is not married, unless the spouse also gets CDB or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and
  • Has a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI. If your child’s other parent is deceased, your child could also qualify.

Your child can apply for CDB at the local Social Security office.

Living alone may impact your child’s benefits

If your child moves out of the family home, benefits eligibility could change. Many programs, including income-based Medi-Cal and CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps), are based on household income. Other programs, like SSI, give higher or lower benefits depending on a person’s living situation. If your child is moving into a new living situation, talk to a benefits planner and ask about how this change might affect his or her benefits eligibility.

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