In Nevada, disabled individuals are entitled to child support even after they turn 18, or graduate from high school, if they meet certain conditions. NRS 125B.110 states that a parent must support, beyond the age of majority, a child “with a handicap” until that individual no longer has a handicap or becomes “self-supporting.” The handicap must have occurred before the child reaches the 18 or is declared emancipated, and the child must not be receiving public assistance in an amount sufficient to meet his or her needs.
The statute defines a “handicap” as being unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity,” and this inability must be due to a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment.” The impairment must be either expected to “result in death or expected to last at least twelve months.
NRS 125B.110 was enacted in 1987, but Nevada did not have a definition of the word “handicapped” in the statute until 1991, when the Nevada Legislature added a definition based on the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” The definition, as noted above, defines “handicapped” as having an impairment that prevents the individual from engaging in “substantial gainful activity.”
The landmark Nevada case on this subject is Edgington v. Edgington, 119 Nev. 577, 80 P.3d 1282. The Nevada Supreme Court clarified that substantial gainful activity “means work activity that results in the child being financially self-supporting.” Id. at 585, 1288. This definition is based upon the Code of Federal Regulations, which does not include simple household tasks, hobbies, therapy, school, clubs, or social programs as “substantial gainful activity.”
Edgington also helped to explain the term “impairment,” which the Court defined as “any physical or mental structural or functional limitation that can be determined by medically accepted diagnostic techniques.” Id. If the impairment is not the cause of the individual’s inability to engage in substantial gainful activity, he or she would not be entitled to child support under the statute.