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A closer look at disability benefits for children


The process of seeking Supplemental Security Income disability benefits through the Social Security Administration for a child's disability can be complex, as recently discussed in this blog, but can also be extremely important for the child's welfare. It is helpful to take a closer look at the process of applying for, and obtaining, benefits. The Social Security Administration evaluates several different considerations including the child's medical condition and financial circumstances.

When evaluating the child's eligibility for children's benefits, the child's income and resources are considered, as well as the income and resources of family members living in the household. When considering the child's disability, the child must suffer from a medical condition, either physical or mental, that significantly limits the child's activities. If working, they must not earn greater than $1,130 a month. In addition, the child's disability must be expected to last 12 months or longer or be expected to result in death.

When an application for Supplemental Security Income is made on behalf of a child for reasons of disability, the SSA will request the child's medical information. In addition, it will request permission to obtain medical records and information from the child's health care providers and other professionals such as doctors, therapists and teachers. The SSA will also ask about the impact of the child's medical condition on the child's ability to perform daily activities. A medical examination or test may be required by the SSA at its own expense.

While the application evaluation process can take between an estimated three to five months, some medical conditions may qualify for expedited benefits while the application is being evaluated. Moving forward, disability may also be reviewed according to the SSA's guidelines. Disabled children receiving SSI benefits are also likely able to receive Medicaid benefits according to the rules in their state. In general, there is a lot to know about options available to disabled individuals and children which is why it is worth it for disabled individuals and their families to review and be familiar with the different resources available to them.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Benefits for Children with Disabilities," Accessed Sept. 19, 2016

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