Benefits for Young People

Other Programs

There are many other benefits programs that you may qualify for. If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are over 18, you probably can also get SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). And if your income and resources are low enough and you have a child under age 19, you may also be able to get income support from the Temporary Assistance program.

Depending on your circumstances, two Social Security programs may give you benefits based on contributions your parents made during their careers: Child’s Benefits and Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB).

A third set of programs, including ABLE Accounts, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), help you save up money or other resources without losing your other benefits.

SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps people with low income and low resources pay for food. You don’t get actual “stamps” anymore. Instead, you get a plastic card called an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that looks and works like a debit card. Missouri puts money on the EBT card each month and you use the card to pay for food.

To get SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), download an application, fill it out, and submit it to your local Family Support Division (FSD) office in person or by mail or fax your application to 1-573-522-6220. You may also complete and submit the application online. For more details, see the Missouri Food Assistance website.

Temporary Assistance

Temporary Assistance gives money to families who don't have enough to pay for basic needs like food, clothing, and rent. Temporary Assistance defines a family as 1 or 2 parents living with their child or children under 18. The age limit is 19 for children who are in school full-time. A family could include biological children, stepchildren, adopted children, and children of relatives.

In order to get Temporary Assistance, you must apply at your local Family Support Division (FSD) office in person. For more details, see the Temporary Assistance website.

Child’s Benefits (only if you are under 19)

The most common way for adults to get Social Security benefits like SSDI or retirement benefits is to work and pay into Social Security’s trust fund.

For young people, however, a more common way to get Social Security benefits is to qualify for Child’s Benefits. You do not need to have a disability to qualify for Child’s Benefits. To get them, you must:

  • Be under the age of 18 (or 19 if you’re attending high school or other secondary education)
  • Not be married, and
  • Have a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI. If your parent is deceased, you may also qualify.

Note: You'll get Child's Benefits in any month your parent gets a Social Security disability or retirement benefit. You will also get benefits if your parent is deceased and would have qualified for benefits based on his or her work record. That means that if your parent is in SSDI's Trial Work Period, you'll keep getting Child's Benefits, but during the Extended Period of Eligibility, you'll only get a Child's Benefit in any month your parent gets an SSDI benefit. Make sure to notify Social Security if your family is in this situation.

You can apply for Child’s Benefits at your local Social Security office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

To learn more about Child’s Benefits, click here or talk to a Benefits Specialist.

Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) (only if you are 18 or older)

If you have a disability, you may be eligible to get money each month through the Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) program.

CDB is based on your parent’s work record. You can only get CDB if you are 18 or older. To qualify for CDB, you must also:

  • Have become disabled before you turned 22
  • Not be married, unless your spouse also gets SSDI or CDB
  • Meet the adult definition of disability, and
  • Have a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI. If your parent is deceased, you may also qualify.

You don’t automatically get CDB when you turn 18. You can apply for it at your local Social Security office or by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

If you get CDB, you can also get health coverage through Medicare after a 2-year waiting period.

To learn more about CDB, read about it on the Social Security website or talk to a Benefits Specialist.

Asset-Building Programs

Asset-building programs are a different type of benefit designed to help you save money you have earned. Instead of sending you a check or paying for your health care expenses, asset-building programs help you save money so that you can afford to pay for your own expenses, such as education, buying a car, or even retirement.

ABLE Accounts

If your disability began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account and save resources in it. The first $100,000 in your account aren't counted by SSI and none of your ABLE account is counted as resourced by MO HealthNet. ABLE accounts mean that if you get a job, you can start saving some money without losing your benefits. Additionally, the money in an ABLE account gets tax advantages similar to the way retirement accounts work.

However, ABLE accounts have restrictions:

  • They can only be opened through specific programs or institutions.
  • You can only open one ABLE account.
  • You and the other people making contributions on your behalf have a limit on how much you can deposit each year. Combined, you cannot deposit more than $18,000 in 2024.
  • You can only use money in an ABLE account for specific things, such as:
    • Education
    • Housing
    • Transportation
    • Help getting and keeping work
    • Health care
    • Assistive technology, and
    • Other approved expenses.
  • A person can only have one ABLE account.

Learn more about ABLE accounts.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

An Individual Development Account (IDA) helps people save money for a specific goal, such as purchasing a home, starting a small business, or paying for education. The great thing about an IDA is that for every dollar you save, the bank or other financial institution where you have your account will match your money. For example, if you save $50 per month, the financial institution might contribute $100 per month. The amount they’ll contribute depends on the institution, but sometimes they will put more money into your account than you do!

Note: There aren't as many IDA programs as there used to be. Some are still active, but it can take a bit of effort to find one that is accepting applications.

To open an IDA:

  • You must have low income, and
  • The money you contribute must be money that you earned from work, not from a benefits check, your parents, or any other source.
Important information for people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you are getting SSI, it is very important that you enroll in an IDA that is federally funded through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA). (You do not need to be getting TANF benefits to do a federally funded IDA program.)

SSI does not count money deposited into federally funded IDAs, so the money you save will not cause your SSI benefits to be reduced or stopped.

If you enroll in a nonfederally funded IDA (for example, one funded by a nonprofit or private company), money deposited and matched in your IDA could affect your benefits.

IDAs are a great money-saving tool, but you need to be sure and enroll in the right type of IDA so that you don’t jeopardize your benefits. To learn more, read the DB101 article on Building Assets and Wealth.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) gives money to low- to moderate-income workers and families. Even people who don’t make enough money to owe income taxes may be able to get a check from the IRS if they qualify for this tax credit.

To qualify, the only requirement is that you have income from employment, self-employment, or employer-paid disability benefits. If your income is too high, you will no longer qualify for the credit.

Be sure to file your taxes

To get the EITC, you need to file your taxes, even if you owe nothing! Make sure to complete the “Schedule EIC” as well. This is free money, and lots of people don’t get it because they don’t know about it! And if you qualify for an EITC, you should also make sure to file your state taxes to get the Missouri Working Family Credit!

The amount of your EITC depends on your family size and income. The credit for tax year 2024 (filing by April 2025) ranges from $2 to $7,830. Make sure to file your taxes and apply!

Missouri also has a similar credit for state taxes. The Missouri Working Family Credit is 10% of the Federal EITC, or $0 to $783. For example, if your federal EITC is $4,000, your Working Family Credit is $400. To claim the Missouri Working Family Credit, you must qualify for the federal EITC on your federal tax return, and you must file a state tax return (Form MO-1040) with Form MO-WFTC and a copy of your federal taxes attached.

For more details, read DB101’s Tax Credit page.

Learn more