Can minors/children receive SSI, and is the money given to the legal guardian?
Yes, minors (children under age 18) can receive SSI if they meet the childhood criteria for disability. Whether or not the legal guardian receives the money depends on a few factors. Individuals under age 18 are generally presumed to be incapable of handling their own funds and would need a representative payee, so a legal guardian or other payee service would manage the funds. Children under age 15 are required to have a payee.
In some instances a child aged 15-17 may be determined as capable of handling his/her own funds if one of the following conditions exists:
The child is entitled to disability benefits based on his/her own earnings.
The child is on active duty in the armed forces
The child is living alone and self-supporting
The child is a parent and filed for his/her own or his/her child’s benefits, and has experience handling finances
The child is within 7 months of attaining age 18.
The child has demonstrated the ability to handle finances, and no qualified payee is available.
In addition, if a child is emancipated under state law, he/she is not required to have a payee, unless there are indications to the contrary. More information about determining capability in children can be found here.