Social Security Disability and Children's Benefits
There are two ways for disabled children to receive Social Security Disability benefits. One way is through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and the other is through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Through the SSI program, children are entitled to receive benefits from birth to the age of 18 if their impairment meets the definition of disability for children and their parents have low income and limited resources. Through the SSDI program, adults can receive benefits if they have a disability that began before they reached the age of 22. The SSDI benefits are considered “child's” benefits since they are based on a parent's Social Security earnings record. Under both the SSI and SSDI programs, children must not be engaged in substantial work and they must have a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or longer. Children's Benefits under the SSI Program Benefits under the SSI program are given to disabled children under the age of 18 years of age who come from families with little income and resources. The monthly payments are based on need rather than prior work. The amount of the SSI payment varies from one state to the next, as some states add to the payment. It generally takes three to five months for a decision to be made regarding a child's SSI application. For certain conditions, including HIV, total deafness, and Down syndrome, payments will be made right away for up to six months while the state agency makes a decision. Even if a child is considered disabled under SSI program rules, he will not be eligible to receive benefits if his household's income and assets exceed the allowed limits. When your child turns 18, the rules for adults will be used to determine whether he's disabled. Furthermore, if your child was not eligible for SSI benefits because you or your spouse had too much income and resources, your child may become eligible for SSI benefits at the age of 18. Children's Benefits under the SSDI Program For an adult whose disability began before the age of 22 to receive SSDI benefits, one of his parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or must be deceased and have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. Your child does not need to have worked to receive SSDI benefits. Under the SSDI program, a decision regarding your child's disability will be made based on the rules for adults. In other words, your child's condition must be severe enough to prevent him from engaging in any substantial gainful activity in order for him to qualify for benefits. Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for Your Child? Be prepared to tell Social Security as much as you can about your child's medical condition. Social Security will contact your child's doctors directly for any reports or information they need, though you can give them the dates of visits to doctors or hospitals, patient account numbers, and any other information that will help them get your medical records. For help gathering the appropriate evidence and to increase the chances of winning your child's claim, contact disability attorney Louis B. Lusk today for a free evaluation.