The Magic Age


There are certain ages in a child’s life that are benchmarks for changes. For some children, turning age 17 is an important day, since that is when the child can obtain a driver’s license and for some age 18 is an important age, when they become emancipated and legally adults. For children with special needs, there are also important ages when life changes occur.

Age 18 is a magic age in the life of a child with special needs. Prior to age 18, assets in a parent’s name are relevant in determining whether the child is eligible to receive government assistance. As a result, limited if any government programs are available to most children with special needs before they turn age 18. Once a child turns age 18, their parents’ assets are no longer relevant in determining whether they are eligible for many forms of government assistance. Specifically, Social Security Income (“SSI”) and Medicaid are available to a child with special needs who meets the definition of disabled at age 18, depending upon the resources and income available to that child. Generally speaking, a child cannot have assets in excess of $2,000 without compromising eligibility for government assistance.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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