Disabled children under the age of 18 can generally obtain disability benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income program (“SSI”).
The federal program for disabled adults and children over 18 is the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”).
Supplemental Security Income.
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a financial “needs-based” program available to qualified disabled children and individuals who have very limited income and assets. SSI provides a monthly stipend to individuals who qualify for assistance.
The Evaluation Process.
Just as is the situation for adults, it can take a long time to get disability benefits for your child.
The first thing the SSA will do is to evaluate whether the child ‘s household meets the financial criteria for SSI. This involves evaluating the family’s income.
If the financial threshold is met (remember, SSI is for low-income individuals) then the SSA will go on to evaluate the child’s medical condition to see if it meets the necessary criteria for “disabled.”
Just as it does for adults, the SSA has a very strict definition of what constitutes a “disability” for children. To be considered “disabled,” a child must:
- have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
- the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.
To evaluate the child’s condition, the SSA will first look to see if your child’s disability meets a listing in its Listing of Impairments – Children. If the child’s condition does not exactly match a listed impairment, then the SSA will evaluate whether or not his or her condition (or combination of conditions) “functionally equals the Listings.”
This means that the SSA will evaluate your child’s ability to function in six different “domains.” These “domains” are:
- 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
These six domains are broad categories of functioning. They are used to evaluate whether the child can function at an age-appropriate level in all aspects of his life.
Depending on its findings, the SSA will either grant or deny the child benefits.
Always Consult Experienced Counsel.
If you have applied for benefits for your child or your child has been denied benefits, contact us. We are experienced social security disability attorneys. We FIGHT hard to get our clients the benefits they deserve. We have helped many people get benefits and we can help you, too. We have offices throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. We also have offices in Oklahoma. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Send us an e-mail or call 855-727-8625.