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New York Parents & Caregivers: Social Security Disability Benefits for Your Child

If you are the parent of a severely ill or disabled child, you may be seeking ways to provide and pay for your child’s care.  Serious illnesses and disabilities can be draining – both emotionally and financially – and you may be relieved to find out that Social Security disability benefits could help you.

In order to qualify for disability benefits, your child must have “marked and severe functional limitations” for a minimum of 12 continuous months.  If your child’s limitations are not severe or if your child has not been severely limited for at least a year – with no breaks – they will not qualify for benefits.

In addition, your child cannot be earning more than $1,000 a month in 2010.  Earning more than this maximum level – which changes every year – will disqualify your child for benefits.

Immediate disability payments for serious medical conditions or physical limitations

It can take many months for the disability determination process to decide that your child qualifies for benefits.  Because the wait can be a real hardship for some families, children suffering from certain severe limitations or illnesses may qualify for immediate benefit payments.

Your child may be eligible for immediate disability benefits if they suffer from a serious condition like an HIV infection, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe mental retardation, total blindness or deafness, or being born under 2 pounds 10 ounces.

Immediate disability benefit payments can be appealing to parents and caregivers, but there is one thing you need to be aware of.  If you accept immediate benefit payments for your child but the disability determination process conducted by your state agency decides that your child is not disabled enough to qualify for benefits, you could be asked to repay everything you received.

Get help for your seriously ill or disabled child

Applying for Social Security disability can be a frustrating challenge for anyone, but can be especially unnerving when a child is involved.  However, by law you are allowed to get help with the application and appeals process.  Please contact our office to speak with our Social Security disability benefits attorneys about your child’s situation.  We’ll let you know if and how we can help, and what you can expect.

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