Children who suffer from a disability that will keep them from working for a living may be eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.
Disabled children under age 18 may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments from Social Security. Adults who have had a disability since childhood or who suffer one before age 22 may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Eligibility for SSDI benefits for children is based on the child’s income and resources and until the child turns 18, the income and resources of family members (usually parents) living in the child’s household. The recipient is referred to as a “child” regardless of age because benefits are based on his or her parents’ Social Security tax contributions.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine whether a child is eligible for SSD benefits through an examination of medical and income records. Like other government benefits programs, the information an applicant must provide can be lengthy, and the program’s rules and regulations can be complex and confusing.
At the law firm of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., we work with South Carolina residents whose children may qualify for SSD benefits. We can help you navigate what may be an intimidating process and help make sure your application is complete and accurately portrays your child’s condition and need.
Call us or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.
Showing a Child’s SSD Eligibility
Eligibility for Social Security benefits available to children with disabilities – SSI for minor children, SSDI for adult children – is determined by the income and resources in the child’s household. In addition to showing that the disabled child does not earn more than a set amount ($1,040 a month in 2013), the applicant must show that:
- The child has a physical or mental condition – or a combination of conditions – that results in “marked and severe functional limitations.”
- The child’s condition has been disabling, or is expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death.
The applicant (or the applicant’s parent/representative) will be asked to provide detailed information about the child’s medical condition and educational achievements, as well as the child’s ability to function on a daily basis.
The SSA will also require the applicant to give permission to doctors, teachers, therapists and other professionals who know about the child’s condition to share information with examiners. The SSA may also require your child to undergo a medical exam, which is paid for by the government.
Determining eligibility, which is the task of the SSA’s Disability Determination Services office here in South Carolina, may take several months. The federal SSA office may provide SSI payments for up to six months while the state office processes an application if the applicant has certain conditions, including:
- HIV infection.
- Total blindness.
- Total deafness.
- Cerebral palsy.
- Down syndrome.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Severe intellectual disorder (child age 7 or older).
- Birth weight less than 2 pounds, 10 ounces.
Once you complete the process for your child, the SSA may require a new review of your child’s status every three years if the condition is expected to improve, or within a year for a baby born with a low birth weight, or within a year of when an underage child already receiving SSI turns 18.
This review requires evidence that your child is and has been receiving treatment considered medically necessary for the child’s medical condition. At age 18, some of the rules that apply to the eligibility process are different from the standards applied to children.
SSD Benefit Applications for Children
Particularly if your child is severely disabled, applying to obtain SSD benefits for children with disabilities can be a difficult process. There are several reasons an application may be wrongly denied. The case examiner reviewing the application may make a mistake for any number of reasons, including having a heavy caseload and too little time (or neglecting) to conduct a thorough review. It is also quite easy for you, your child’s medical providers or others involved to fail to submit necessary information, or to provide information that is not clear to the examiner.
You can appeal a denied application, but you can also get help with your initial application and, in many cases, avoid an improper denial.
The lawyers at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., can counsel you about a benefits claim for your child and assist you in compiling information for your application. We can make sure your child’s SSD benefits application is complete and, if it is denied, we can represent you and your family on appeal. If we have already handled your application for SSD benefits for your disabled child, we will have records and a relationship with you when periodic reviews are required.
Our disability attorneys have more than 120 years of combined experience helping disabled South Carolina residents obtain the SSDI, SSI and other government benefits they deserve. Our firm prides itself on treating clients like family, and we’d be pleased to help your family through what is often a trying but very necessary process.
Let Our Child Disability Lawyers Help You Pursue SSDI Benefits
Call Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., today or fill out our online form for a free and confidential review of your case by one of our experienced children’s social security disability lawyers.