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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Children with Disabilities

As a caregiver or parent of a disabled child, you may be wondering if your child is eligible for Supplemental Security Income.  These benefits can help relieve the financial burden placed on your family for the care of your disabled child.  The Social Security Administration provides monthly payments for children under the age of 18 who meet the Social Security’s definition of disability for children.  The child’s income and resources must fall within the eligibility limits established by Social Security.

Your child’s resources and income, as well as that of the family, will be considered in determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income.  If it is found that the resources and income are higher than the amount allowed, benefits will be denied.  This rule applies if your child lives at home or if your child is away at school, but returns home often.

Determining Disability
According to the Social Security Administration’s website, the following criteria must be met to determine if a child is disabled and therefore eligible for Supplemental Security Income:

• The child must not be working and earning more than $940 a month in 2008. (This earnings amount changes every year.) If he or she is working and earning that much money, Social Security will find that your child is not disabled.

• The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, that results in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit your child’s activities.

• The child’s condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months; or must be expected to result in death.

In the situation where your child has “marked and severe functional limitations” for at least 12 consecutive months, Social Security will consider your child disabled.  Immediate Supplemental Security Income payments are available if your child has a certain medical condition that is expected to result in a disability.  For example, the following conditions may qualify your child for immediate payments:

• Complete blindness
• Total deafness
• HIV positive
• Cerebral palsy
• Down syndrome
• Severe mental retardation in a child at least 7-years-old
• Muscular dystrophy
• Birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces

Applying for Supplement Security Income for Your Child
When applying for Supplemental Security Income for you child, you will be required to provide detailed information about your child’s medical condition and how it affects his or her ability to function.  You will also be asked to grant permission for the Social Security Administration to request information from doctors, teachers, therapists and other professionals.  The application and requested information and documents will be sent to New York’s Disability Determination Services for review.  If you were receiving immediate payments based on the conditions listed above and are later denied benefits, you will not be required to pay the money back.

Once your child is approved for Supplemental Security Income, your child’s medical condition will be reviewed periodically.  For children younger than age 18, this review will take place at least every three years.  Babies who were receiving benefits because of low birth weight will be reviewed at age 1.

If you have applied for Supplemental Security Income for your child and have been denied, contact Markhoff & Mittman, P.C., New York Supplemental Security Income attorneys, at (866) 205-2415 or 866-205-2415.