August 20, 2009
Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children
Can a child with a disability qualify for Social Security benefits? A child under age 18 can qualify if he or she meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits. The requirements for children can differ from adults. Since children do not have a work history, the funds for children with disabilities are paid through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
There are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to receive SSI benefits for your disabled child:
1. The child must financially qualify. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will take a look at the amount of income and resources that the child and the family members living in the household have access to. If the child’s income and resources, or the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household, are more than the amount allowed by the SSA, the child’s application for SSI payments will be denied. Also, if the child lives in a medical facility where health insurance pays for his or her care, the SSA will limit the monthly SSI payment to $30 per month.
2. The child must have a condition or combination of conditions that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or expected to result in death. These physical or mental conditions must result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” Marked and severe limitations means that the child’s activities are very seriously limited, it can cause the child to be in a grade level inappropriate for his or her age, it can cause your child to be constantly hospitalized, etc.
While some attorneys are hesitant to take children’s Social Security claims cases, Indiana Attorney Scott Lewis believes many of these cases can be won at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) level. It is important to secure good physician’s treatment records and school records. Generally, because children do not have a work record to consider, a school record can be very important in theses cases. Records documenting the child’s difficulty in school, the need for special education classes, and being held back from the appropriate grade level can show the Social Security Administration the child has “marked and severe” impairments.
If you have questions regarding your child’s qualification for Social Security benefits, contact Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.