Your Disabled Child May be Qualified to Receive Supplemental Security Income Benefits from Social Security

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Disability | 0 comments

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is one of the two Social Security Administration (SSA) programs designed to provide cash benefits certain U.S. citizens (the other is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which pays cash benefits to totally disabled Social Security members who are below 65 years old. SSI, in particular, is designed to pay cash benefits to:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR); and,
  • Disabled children who are below 18 years old and who have limited income and resources;

The Supplemental Security Income hopes to improve the quality of life of its recipients by helping provide for their basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Unlike SSDI, which requires that disabled applicants have worked long or recently enough in SS covered jobs and have earned the required number of credits through payment of the monthly Social Security taxes taxes in order to qualify, the SSI neither requires employment nor any earned credits. This is how it was made possible to include disabled children in its list of possible beneficiaries (so long as these children have limited income and resources).

For a child to be eligible to receive SSI benefits, his/her disability should fall within SSA’s definition of disability. It is also necessary that his/her parents or guardians know what limited income and resources means.

Disability, as defined by the SSA for SSI purposes, refers to any physical or mental impairment and/or emotional or learning problem which:

  • Can result in severe functional limitations;
  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for at least a year; and,
  • Can result in death.

With regard to income and resources, this refers to the income and resources of the family members with whom the child lives. For 2016, the income limit set under the federal benefit rate (FBR) is $1,130 per month (this amount may change every year). Eligibility also requires that a child must not be employed in any kind of work.

When applying for SSI benefits for children, the SSA usually requires information regarding the child’s medical condition and how this condition affects his/her ability in the performance of daily activities. The child’s teachers, doctors, therapists and other professionals, who may possess knowledge about the child’s condition, will also be asked for information (with the parents’/guardian’s permission). All information gathered, including medical and school records, will be sent to the Disability Determination Services office of the state where the child resides. Doctors and nurses in said state agency will review all available information and determine whether the child is eligible to receive the cash benefits. Evaluation of records usually takes three to five months, however, if the child has emergency needs, then SSI benefits may be paid right away (even while the agency’s decision on the child’s qualification is still pending).

Examples of medical conditions that may qualify a child to receiving benefits include: total blindness, total deafness, cerebral palsy, HIV infection, muscular dystrophy, down syndrome, severe intellectual disability (for children 7 years old or older) and a birth weight that is below 2 pounds and 10 ounces.

The complexity and the long process associated with filing SSI benefits for children often results to an application getting denied or the decision getting delayed. With the help of a highly-qualified Social Security lawyers, however, such as an Indiana social security attorney, for instance, preparation of necessary records, especially medical records, and mistakes in the application process may easily be avoided; in case the application is denied, then an appeal can easily be made.

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