We can help you get benefits your child may be entitled to under Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Depending on your family’s income, your child could receive as much as $700.00 per month.
Many of our clients are eligible to receive SSI payments for their child with disabilities but are unfortunately denied their claims because of failing to provide the necessary information to qualify. We can help you qualify for those benefits at no cost to you. As our client, we will work with you to obtain all the benefits available to care for your disabled child and even appear with you at the social security hearing to make sure that payments are made as quickly as possible.
To be eligible for SSI benefits for your child, you and your child must first meet the income requirement. The income of you and your child are considered, as well as the income of the family members that the child lives with. For example, a disabled infant who lives at home with her parents may be barred from collecting SSI even if she has no income, if her parents make above a certain amount of money. We can help you make that determination.
Once the income requirement is met, a child must meet the basic medical eligibility requirements of SSI to be considered for benefits. The child must meet these requirements.
- The child is not working and earning over $1,170 per month.
- The child has “marked and severe” functional limitations. These limitations are ones that severely interfere with the child’s ability to function at the level of other children of the same age.
- The child has been disabled for the past 12 months, or is expected to be disabled for 12 months or more, or has a disability that is expected to result in death.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review the severity of your child’s impairments. The SSA then makes a decision whether or not your child’s functional limitations are severe enough to move forward into a full disability determination. (For example, if you apply for disability due to your child’s learning disability, the SSA may not think it is a severe limitation and could deny your child benefits early on in the decision making process.)
In the full disability determination, the SSA has to try two ways to find your child disabled: through comparing your child’s condition to the disability listings and through an assessment of the child’s limitations.
The SSA has a Listing of Impairments (called the blue book) that outlines impairments that automatically deem someone disabled. Part A of the blue book was created for adults, but can be applied to children if they meet the adult requirements. However, many diseases affect children differently then adults and some diseases are found only in children. Part B of the blue book has separate disability listings for children, often with criteria that are easier to meet than for the adult listings, and also lists disability listings that apply only to children, such as ADHD, developmental disorders, and growth impairment.
Marked and Severe Functional Limitations
If a child’s medical condition does not meet the requirements a disability listing (or isn’t found equivalent in severity to a listing), the child may still be deemed disabled if it is found that the child has functional limitations that are “marked and severe.” These limitations must severely affect the child’s ability to function on a daily basis. An example of a marked and severe functional limitation is a ten-year-old boy who cannot dress or bathe himself.
Medical Evidence Requirements
In order to prove that a child meets or equals a disability listing — or has functional limitations that are marked and severe — a good deal of evidence is required. Depending on the impairment, medical evidence requirements can range from doctor’s observations to lab tests.
For children, medical reports should compare the child’s functional abilities to others of the same age that do not have impairments. Functions that should be compared include learning and using information, the ability to complete tasks, the ability to interact appropriately with others, the ability to walk and use their hands, and taking care of themselves (as appropriate for their age).
The SSA will also consider school records and reports in considering the child’s level of impairment.
If more medical information is needed, the child may be asked to have a medical examination or tests done. The SSA will cover the costs of such examinations or tests. Called consultative exams, SSA physical exams are performed by medical doctors (MDs) and SSA mental examinations are done by psychologists or psychiatrists, depending on the impairments.