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In many cases, the Social Security disability benefits a person can receive are based on their work history and the income they have earned in the past. However, there are some cases where children may receive disability benefits, and they may be eligible to continue receiving disability after reaching the age of 18, depending on whether their disabilities affect their ability to work.

Magistrate Reverses ALJ’s Denial of Disabled Adult Child Benefits

A recent U.S. District Court case in Illinois illustrates some of the issues that may be involved in cases involving Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits. In Alexandra A. S. v. Commissioner of Social Security, a woman had applied for benefits, and she alleged that symptoms she had experienced since her 18th birthday, including depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and lack of focus, made it impossible for her to work.

The administrative law judge (ALJ) who heard the plaintiff’s case found that while she had severe impairments due to personality disorders, anxiety, and substance abuse, she had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform simple, routine tasks in a work environment that is not fast-paced, does not involve any interactions with the public, and has only brief, superficial contact with co-workers. For these reasons, the ALJ denied the plaintiff disability benefits. The plaintiff appealed this decision.


b2ap3_thumbnail_disability-hearing-Chicago.jpgA Social Security Disability Insurance hearing is often a stressful experience for applicants. The hearing itself may not last long—in some cases a hearing is over in just 10 or 15 minutes. However, there may be a waiting period of several weeks afterwards while the administrative law judge (ALJ), the Social Security official in charge of the hearing, prepares a final written decision.

Getting a “Fully Favorable” Ruling

Still, it is possible to get an immediate oral ruling from the ALJ in some cases. These rulings, known as “bench decisions,” are only available under specific circumstances. First, a bench decision must be “fully favorable” to the applicant. In other words, the ALJ not only finds that you are legally disabled, but he or she also agrees with the date you said the disability began.


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