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Does My Child Qualify for SSI Disability?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

Government benefit programs exist to help society's most vulnerable in times of difficulty. Many of us are familiar with social security disability insurance (SSDI) because we pay a portion of our earnings into the system. That is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. These SSI payments are available to adults and children and unrelated to employment.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), children who are disabled and growing up in a home with little or no income and resources are eligible for social security income. Let's take a look at eligibility requirements and the application process for obtaining benefits for disabled children.

Defining Disabled

The SSA in its own words has a strict definition of disability for children. The definition has two parts. First, the child applicant must have a physical or mental condition that very seriously limits activity. Second, the condition must have lasted a year or be expected to last a year or result in death. Both of these conditions must be met for an applicant to qualify for SSI.

A state agency will make the disability decision based on information provided by the applicants, as well as from the child's school and doctors. The state may require additional testing to make the determination and will pay for any tests it orders.

Income and Resources

When your child is sick or disabled, no amount of money can solve your problems. But financial ease certainly does help people deal with disability, enabling them to access services and resources that they might not otherwise because they are unaffordable. That is why SSI exists to assist indigent families.

Remember, not everyone qualifies for income assistance based on a child's disability. The state agency reviewing your application will look at family income and resources, as well as other personal information to decide if your child qualifies.

How Long Is the Process?

You can do some of your application for SSI for a disabled child online. But not all of it. You will also have a disability interview before a final determination is made. According to the SSA, it may take from three to five months for the agency to make a decision about your application.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you have already applied for disability on behalf of your child and been denied, or you simply want to learn more about the process and potential problems, speak to a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk to you.

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