Age of Majority Rights

for Delaware Transition-Age Youth and Their Families

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The transition from childhood to adulthood can be both exciting and challenging. There are many things to keep in mind as you (or your child) approach adulthood. While it is never too late to plan for the future, we recommend that you start thinking about and preparing for the transition to adulthood early in the teenage years.  As you get older, society expects more from you.  Once you turn 18, you will have civic, financial and other responsibilities.  Civic responsibilities include things like voting, registering to vote, registering for selective service, and participating in jury duty.  While this guide does not cover every topic related to turning 18, it does offer insight into many of the common challenges.

This guide contains useful tips to help you advocate for yourself and also directs you to other resources that can give you additional assistance if you need it.  Each individual’s situation is unique and this guide is not intended to constitute legal advice on your specific circumstances. Please use this table of contents to navigate to sections of this guide that are of interest to you:

Table of Contents

New Civic Duties

  1. Identification: Proving Who You Are
    • Obtaining a State Identification Card
    • Obtaining a Delaware Driver’s License
  2. Registering with the United States Selective Service System
  3. Jury Duty
    • Notice of jury duty
    • The ‘summons’ is a court order you cannot ignore
    • Excusal from jury duty or delaying the date of your jury service
  4. Registering to Vote & Voting

Legal System Changes

  1. Criminal charges will generally no longer be in Family Court
  2. Potential to remove juvenile records from your background
  3. Signing contracts / agreements
  4. Other: Liability, Marriage, Military Service, Wills & Inheritance

Financial Aspects

  1. Working
  2. Responsibility to Pay Taxes
    • Delaware State Taxes, Important Things to Know
    • Federal Taxes, Important Things to Know
  3. Money Management / Budget Assistance
    • Financial Accounts
    • Establishing Credit
    • Credit Reports
    • Money Management Assistance
    • Identity Theft
    • Free Phone Programs

Healthcare Coverage

Benefits: Applying for Benefits and Appealing Decisions

  1. Delaware Division of Social Services and Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance
    • Appeals of decisions about DSS and DMMA benefits, including decisions by your Medicaid Managed Care Organization
    • Medicaid Programs for Persons with Disabilities
      • Medicaid Waiver Programs
      • Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities
      • Pathways to Employment
  2. Social Security Administration Benefits
    1. Introduction to SSA Programs
    2. Appealing SSI, SSDI & Medicare Decisions
      • SSI & SSDI
      • Medicare


Adult Guardianships

  1. Guardianship defined; different types of guardians
  2. When guardians can be appointed
  3. Selecting a guardian
  4. Legal protections for the person with a disability: contesting or changing involuntary guardianships
    • Protections provided by the court to the person with a disability
    • Actions a guardian cannot take, or actions that require court approval
    • Guardianship and the right to vote
    • Contesting or changing involuntary guardianships

Alternatives to Guardianship

  1. Supported decision-making
  2. Representative or substitute payee
  3. Using care/case management/community advocacy systems
  4. Establishing a health care surrogate
  5. Advance health care directive or “AHCD”
  6. Creating a Trust
  7. Durable power of attorney
  8. Opening joint checking accounts

Additional Sources for Help or information

Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. Contact Information