Applying for Disability Benefits for a Disabled Child
Disabled children, like adults, may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
And, like adult applications, applying for disability benefits for a disabled child can be complicated, time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating. Having an experienced disability counsel to assist you can make the process easier and can greatly increase your chances that your child will be awarded disability benefits.
Applications for disability benefits for children are made under the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) program.
This program should not be confused with the Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) program—which also provides disability benefits.
What is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program?
Briefly, SSI is government assistance for the disabled. It is available to both adults and children. Disabled or blind adults, and children with a disability or blindness, may qualify for SSI if they meet the SSA’s specific definition of “disability” and if they meet the financial limits. Adults over the age of 65 who are not disabled, but who meet the financial limits may also qualify for aide.
SSDI, on the other hand, is a financial program available to disabled adults who have paid into the Social Security system for a specific period of time.
The SSI Application Process for Disabled Children
Applying for SSI for your disabled child (a child under 18) will require:
- Filling out a detailed application
- Filling out a Child Disability Report, and
- Providing all necessary medical and other information at your child’s Disability Interview
As it does for adults, the SSA will require medical records and other evidence sufficient to support that the child is “disabled”— within the SSA’s meaning of “disabled.”
Keep in mind that the SSA has a very strict definition of “disabled.”
If your child does not meet that definition, benefits will be denied. In fact, even if your child does meet the definition of “disabled” it is not unusual for benefits to be denied initially. This is one reason why it is important to have disability counsel to assist you.
According to the SSA, a child who is not blind, must have:
- A condition or combination of conditions that result in “marked and
- severe functional limitations.” In other words, the condition must very seriously limit the child’s activities, and
- The child’s condition must have must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months, or it must be expected to result in death.
The application process will require that you substantiate your child’s disabling condition(s) with medical records, treatment records and other information (such as school records, etc.) regarding how his/her condition affects his ability to perform normal daily activities.
Because SSI is not health care coverage, but is financial assistance, it is only available for those whose income falls within the SSA’s limits.
As a result, you can expect to provide financial information about your child’s income as well as the income and resources of the family members he or she lives with.
Disabled children who are under 18 (from birth to 18 years old) and who have little or no income, may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”).
Your child will also be expected to attend a disability interview which again will require detailed information about your child’s medical condition(s) and information about how they affect his/her ability to function daily.
Disability benefits can be a necessary part of raising a disabled child. But applying for disability benefits for a child is no easy task. If you have a disabled child and think he or she might qualify for SSI, consult an experienced disability lawyer in Florida to help you navigate the disability process.
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Our attorneys are here to help injured and disabled individuals obtain the help they need and the compensation they deserve. If you have a disability, contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.