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Child Social Security Disability and SSI Disability Explained

Please Note: This site is operated by a private law firm.  It is not associated with the Social Security Administration.  This site is not endorsed or sponsored by the Social Security Administration.

Three Ways A Child Can Get Benefits From Social Security Or SSI

There are three ways a child might be eligible for benefits from Social Security or SSI. The three kinds of benefits are:

  • SSI Benefits For Children-- These are benefits payable to disabled children under age 18 who have limited income and resources, or who come from homes with limited income and resources.
  • Social Security Dependents Benefits-- These are benefits payable to children under the age of 18 on the record of a parent who is collecting retirement or disability benefits from Social Security, or survivors benefits payable to children under the age of 18 on the record of a parent who has died.

    Although children under age 18 who are eligible for these benefits might be disabled, we do not need to consider their disability to qualify them for benefits.
    A child can continue receiving dependents or survivors benefits until age 19 if he or she is a full-time student in elementary or high school.


  • Social Security Benefits For Adults Disabled Since Childhood-- Dependents benefits normally stop when a child reaches age 18 (or 19 if the child is a full-time student). However, those benefits can continue to be paid into adulthood if the child is disabled. To qualify for these benefits, an individual must be eligible as the child of someone who is getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or of someone who has died, and that child must have a disability that began prior to age 22.

    Although most of the people getting these benefits are in their 20s and 30s (and some even older), the benefit is considered a "child's" benefit because it is paid on the basis of a parent's Social Security earnings record.



SSI Benefits For Children With Disabilities

Non-Medical Rules

SSI is a program that pays monthly benefits to people with low incomes and limited assets who are 65 or older, or blind, or disabled. Children can qualify if they meet Social Security's definition of disability for SSI children and if their income and assets fall within the eligibility limits.

As its name implies, Supplemental Security Income supplements a person's income up to a certain level. The level varies from one state to another and can go up every year based on cost-of-living increases. Your local Social Security office can tell you more about the SSI benefit levels in your state.

Rules For Children Under 18

We consider the parent's income and assets when deciding if a child under 18 qualifies for SSI. This applies to children who live at home, or who are away at school but return home occasionally and are subject to parental control. We refer to this process as "deeming" of income and assets.

Check with your Social Security office for information about your child's specific situation and for a full explanation of the "deeming" process.

Rules For Children 18 And Older

When a child turns age 18, we no longer consider the parent's income and assets when we decide if he or she can get SSI. A child who was not eligible for SSI before his or her 18th birthday because the parent's income or assets were too high may become eligible at age 18.

If a disabled child getting SSI turns 18 and continues to live with his or her parents, but does not pay for food or shelter, a lower SSI payment rate may apply.

How Its Decided If A Child Is Disabled For SSI

While your local Social Security office decides if your child's income and assets are within the SSI limits, all documents and evidence pertaining to the disability are sent to a state office, usually called the Disability Determination Service (DDS). There, a team, consisting of a disability evaluation specialist and a medical or psychological consultant, reviews your child's case to decide if he or she meets our definition of disability.

If the available records are not thorough enough for the DDS team to make a decision, you may be asked to take your child to a special examination that Social Security will pay for. It is very important that you do this, and that your child puts forth his or her best effort during the examination. The results of the examination will not be considered valid unless your child puts forth his or her best effort. Failure to attend the examination, or invalid results due to poor effort, could result in an unfavorable decision.

Deciding SSI Disability For Children Under 18

The law states that a child will be considered disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition (or a combination of conditions) that results in "marked and severe functional limitations." The condition must last or be expected to last at least 12 months or be expected to result in the child's death. And, the child must not be working at a job that we consider to be substantial work.

To make this decision, the disability evaluation specialist first checks to see if the child's disability can be found in a special listing of impairments that is contained in Social Security's regulations. These listings are descriptions of symptoms, signs or laboratory findings of more than 100 physical and mental problems, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation or muscular dystrophy, that are severe enough to disable a child. The child's condition does not have to be one of the conditions on the list. But, if the symptoms, signs or laboratory findings of the child's condition are the same as, or medically equal in severity to the listing, your child is considered disabled for SSI purposes. If your child's impairment(s) does not meet or medically equal a listing, the DDS then decides whether it "functionally equals" the listings. They assess the effects of the condition or combination of conditions on your child's ability to perform daily activities by comparing your child's functioning to that of children the same age who do not have impairments. To do this, they consider questions such as:

  • What activities is your child able or not able to perform?
  • Which activities are limited in comparison with those of same-age peers?
  • What type and amount of help does your child need to complete age-appropriate activities?

To determine whether your child's impairment causes "marked and severe functional limitations," the disability evaluation team obtains evidence from a wide variety of sources who have knowledge of your child's condition and how it affects his or her ability to function on a day-to-day basis and over time. These sources include, but are not limited to, the doctors and other health professionals who treat your child, teachers counselors, therapists and social workers. A finding of disability will not be based solely on your statements or in the fact that your child is, or is not, enrolled in special education classes.

A Special Message To Parents Of Children With Severe Disabilities

The disability evaluation process generally takes several months. However, the law includes special provisions for people (including children) signing up for SSI disability whose condition is so severe that they are presumed to be disabled. In these cases, SSI benefits are paid for up to six months while the formal disability decision is being made. (These payments can be made only if the child meets the other eligibility factors.)

Following are some of the disability categories in which we can presume your child is disabled and make immediate SSI payments:

  • HIV infection
  • Total Blindness
  • Total Deafness (in some cases)
  • Cerebral palsy ( in some cases)
  • Down syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy (in some cases)
  • Mental retardation
  • Diabetes (with amputation of one foot)
  • Amputation of two limbs
  • Amputation of leg at the hip

If we make these special payments, and we later decide that the child's disability is not severe enough to qualify for SSI, the benefits do not have to be paid back.

Children with HIV Infection

Children with HIV infection may differ from adults in the way the infection is acquired and in the course of the disease. DDS disability examiners and doctors have been provided with extensive guidelines to use when evaluating claims for children involving HIV infection.

Some children may not have the conditions specified in our current guidelines for evaluating HIV infection, but may have other signs and symptoms that indicate an impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations. As indicated earlier, this kind of evidence may help show that your child is disabled for SSI purposes.

Continuing Disability Reviews

After a child starts receiving SSI, the law requires that we review the child's disability to verify that he or she is still disabled. The continuing disability review (CDR) must be done:

  • At least every three years for children under 18 whose conditions are expected to improve; and
  • Not later than 12 months after birth for babies whose disability is based on their low birth weight; unless we determine the condition is not expected to improve by your child's first birthday, and we schedule
    the CDR for a later date.

At the time we do a CDR, the representative must present evidence that the child is and has been receiving treatment that is considered medically necessary and available for the child's disabling condition. This requirement applies to all cases unless we decide that such evidence would be inappropriate or unnecessary.

Disability Redeterminations At Age 18

Under the law, children who are eligible for SSI benefits in the month before they turn age 18 must have their eligibility redetermined.

The redetermination will be done during the one-year period beginning on your child's 18th birthday, or in place of a CDR whenever we determine the individual's case is subject to a redetermination. We will use the rules for adults filing new claims when making the redetermination.

Children In Certain Medical Care Facilities

The monthly SSI payment will be limited to $30 for children under age 18 who live, throughout a calendar month, in certain institutions where private health insurance pays for their care.



You have Disability Rights!...

Note: if you've been disabled and are not able to work for at least twelve months, then you should apply immediately as the social security disability and (or) SSI Disability claims process takes a long period of time to complete.

Get Started Click Here for a Free Evaluation by a disability Attorney

Possible Social Security Disability Conditions *-

Cancer, Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetic Neuropathy, lupus, crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, High Blood Pressure (Hypertension), Hip, Neck, Shoulder, Ankle, Wrist, Back, or other Joint Problems, Disc Herniation, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, rsi or Repetetive Stress Injury, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Arthritis, Dysthymia, Depression or other Mood Disorders, Congestive or Chronic Heart Failure, Type 1 Seizure Disorder, Stroke, copd, Emphysema, Hearing Loss or Poor Hearing, Statutory Blindness, Peripheral Field Problems or Other Vision Loss, Clinical Obesity, Attention Deficit Hyper Activity or adhd, Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression, Panic Disorder, schizophrenia, autism, head trauma, memory loss, low iq, mental retardation, learning disability, epilepsy, cancer, chronic fatigue, lupus, anxiety, inner ear problems, meniere's, vertigo or dizziness, kidney failure requiring dialysis or other renal problems, cirrhosis, hepatitis, or other liver disease, pancreatitis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, rsd or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, , sarcoidosis, peripheral vascular disease, lyme disease, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, hiv, aids, anemia, sickle cell, thyroid problems including hypothyroidism, esrd or end stage renal disease, reflux, gerd (gastroesophageal reflux disease), cfids, muscular dystrophy, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, or tachycardia, bradycardia or other arrhythmia

*- Social Security Disability benefits may or may not be awarded for disabilities due to the above conditions.  This information is provided as general information, not as legal advice. The information is not intended to be unsolicited legal advice.  Fill the FREE QUICK CLAIM EVALUATION to have an attorney review your disability claim.


How Much will I get for my Disability Claim?

The dollar amount Social Security Disability or SSi benefits an individual will get depends on how much that individual worked in the past and earned during that time or in the case of SSi it depends on the individual's claim circumstances . For disabled widow's, it depends on how much the spouse earned and for a disabled child, it depends on how much the parent earned.


What typically happens in a Social Security Disability Claim process?

Typically you are denied your Disability Claim in the initial stage (good reason why it is wise to have an experienced disability attorney).

Only about 40% of the claims are approved at that stage sometimes less. The next stage, Disability Reconsideration, about 20% of the individuals win at that stage. The last stage, the Hearing stage is where the individual actually has a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. The social security disability or ssi disability hearing is informal with only the judge, his secretary and often times the judge will have a vocational expert present to testify as to what jobs the individual can perform.


Social Security Disability Attorney (is it wise to have one?)

Social Security Disability attorney an experienced one usually can be the difference.  No fee is collected if you're social security disability claim is not won, and fees are only collected on the back end. Disability lawyers receive 25% of the back benefits up to a certain amount which has been set by law. Get a FREE Immediate review by an experienced disability attorney in your state.

  1. Statistically claimants that are represented by an attorney are much more likely to win their claim.

  2. An experienced attorney knows what proof social security and ssi disability system requires

  3. Using legal help eliminates both the necessity of waiting in long government lines and the chance that a government clerk’s incorrect notation on your condition jeopardizing your claim.

  4. All aspects of your case including complicated paper work will be handled professionally.


What to expect in a typical Social Security Disability claim process:

The hardest part of the whole claims process is being patient. Once you request a Social Security Disability or SSi Disability Claims hearing, it may take up to one year to actually have a hearing and then another 3 to 6 months to get a decision. Again, that's why you want to start your claims process with an experienced disability representation.


What we do for you:

Your Social Security Disability or SSi Disability Claim will be handled at any stage in the process including application and appeals. Remember, there are no fees unless you win your case and you collect benefits.

As your social security disability claims representatives we will:

  1. Provide you with a thorough evaluation of your Social Security Disability or SSI claim.

  2. Obtain from Social Security the benefit amount you can expect to collect Act as your liaison with the Social Security Administration

  3.  Help you complete and process all paperwork and applications for your disability claim

  4. Investigate all medical documentation and obtain additional reports for your Social Security Disability or SSI Disability Claim

  5. Prepare you for any Social Security required hearings

  6. Make sure you receive all the Social Security Disability and/or SSI Disability benefits you are entitled to.

Specific questions about your particular social security disability claim? You should speak to a disability attorney. Click Here to start a Disability Claim

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