March 20, 2018
Children’s Social Security Disability and the Right Lawyer
Not all Social Security Disability lawyers take children’s social security disability cases. There may be many reasons for this, but one thing is for sure- claims for children are unlike adult disability cases. Selecting a lawyer with experience handling children’s claims for benefits can make the process smoother for you and your child. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates claims for both children and adults, the underlying question is very different. For adults, that question is “can you work”? We do not expect children to work, so how does the SSA evaluate them? This blog will briefly examine how the SSA analyzes children’s benefits claims.
The SSA publishes disability guidelines called the Listing of Impairments. These guidelines set forth specific criteria for evaluating certain impairments to determine if they meet their definition of disability. Many children do not meet or equal these requirements to receive Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) benefits. However, this does not mean that the claim is denied. The Social Security Administration will then look at six domains to determine if your child is disabled:
- Acquiring and Using Information
- Attending and Completing Tasks
- Interacting and Relating with Others
- Moving About and Manipulating Objects
- Caring for Yourself
- Health and Physical Well-Being
A child’s limitations must be considered “marked” in two of these domains or considered “extreme” in one domain to be disabled. These domains can be a bit tricky, as you can see by their somewhat vague titles. Some of the domains relate to mental impairments while others relate more to physical impairments. One part of my job as a Social Security disability attorney is to help the SSA understand how your child’s limitations fit into a domain.
A consistent, ongoing, and well-documented treatment record is needed to prove the persistence and severity of your child’s symptoms. Additionally, if you can obtain a medical source statement from a treating pediatrician, psychiatrist, or therapist regarding their opinion as to how your child’s disability fits into these domains, it may help you convince the SSA that your child qualifies for disability benefits.
Parents and other family members tell me frequently that they cannot find attorneys who take child Social Security disability cases. My firm takes great pride in its representation of Social Security Disability claims for children. Preparation for these cases is very different than adult disability cases. If your child is suffering from a mental or physical disability you believe meets these criteria, I urge you to apply with the SSA to see if he/she may qualify for benefits.
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