Children who are disabled can qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if they meet certain income and resources requirements, which requires considering that of their parents or guardians.

Income & Resources Requirements to Apply for Child Disability Benefits

The SSA makes monthly payments to people who have limited income and resources who are:

  • 65 or older;
  • blind; or
  • disabled.


Children under 18 who meet the SSA definition of disability in the Children’s Listing of Impairments or who are blind may qualify, but are also required to meet income and resources requirements.

Children who work must not make more than $1,070 per month in 2014. Further, the parents’ income and resources may be considered when determining if a child is eligible for SSI as long as the child is under 18 and unmarried. The child may be living at home, or may be away at school but come home on weekends, holidays, vacations, etc.

The process of applying the parents’ income and resources when determining if the child qualifies for SSI is called ‘deeming,’ and it assumes that the child’s parents’ income is available to him or her.

Income not deemed available to the child may include:

  • VA pensions;
  • general assistance; and
  • income for court-ordered support payments.


Resources not deemed available may include:

  • a home;
  • a vehicle used for transportation; and
  • pension fund money.

Meeting Child Disability Requirements When Applying for Benefits

As noted above, children must meet the SSA definition of disability, such as one listed in the Children’s Listing of Impairments. Further, the child’s conditions must have lasted – or be expected to last – for one year or to result in death. The disability must also result in “marked and severe functional limitations” for this time period.

The Children’s Listing of Impairments is divided into several sections based on the affected body system, this includes categories like:

  • Growth Impairment;
  • Musculoskeletal System;
  • Respiratory System;
  • Cardiovascular System;
  • Digestive System; and
  • Neurological.


Some conditions, like diabetes, may qualify if related conditions meet disability requirements. If you are having trouble proving that your child meets the disability requirements and your application was denied, contact an attorney to discuss qualification and establishing the required elements.

Once your child starts receiving SSI benefits the SSA will perform reviews intermittently to ensure your child remains disabled and qualified for payments. This will happen at least once every three years for children under 18 whose situations are expected to improve and by age one for children with low birth rate.

New York and SSI Payments

SSI payments vary from state to state because each state has the right to add other payments to the federal SSI payment. New York does add to the payment. The total monthly payment for SSI recipients in New York for 2014 is $503.67 for individuals living in someone else’s house and receiving support and maintenance; this typically covers children.

Your child may also qualify for health insurance through Medicaid if he or she receives SSI payments. Call Markhoff and Mittman for help with your child’s SSI application or if the application was wrongly denied. Set up your consultation today by calling 866-205-2415 or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment.