If you have been disabled since birth you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you can prove that your condition is severe, expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and does not allow you to work. Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “How will the disability process be affected if I have been disabled since birth?”
What are SSI benefits?
Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits are offered to applicants who are aged, disabled or blind and who are unable to work. SSI benefits are only for claimants who have very limited income and resources. If your income or resource level is too high you will be immediately denied SSI benefits regardless of your health condition.
Why did I not get SSI benefits as a child?
Many adults wonder why, if they have been disabled their entire lives, they were not receiving SSI benefits as a child. The main reason you may have been denied SSI benefits as a child is because your parent’s income, a portion of which is “deemed” to you, may have been too high for you to qualify for SSI, even though you were disabled.
What if you are no longer living with your parents but you still do not have the capability to work? Many disabled applicants who turn 18 years of age and move out from their parent’s home may now qualify for SSI benefits because they are no longer supported by their parents and their income level is reduced below the qualifying SSI benefit level.
So, if you are a young adult and you are disabled and you are no longer living with your family, or you are living with your family and your income has decreased, you may now qualify for SSI benefits if you continue to be disabled and unable to work.
Are you disabled?
How will you know if you are disabled? When determining if you are disabled and whether you qualify for SSI benefits the SSA is most concerned with whether or not your condition is so severe you cannot work. In fact, the first thing the SSA will consider is whether or not you are currently working and performing what they call substantial gainful activity. If you are working and making too much money the SSA will consider you NOT disabled regardless of the severity of your condition.
Does a younger claimant have a more difficult time winning SSI benefits?
One of the most common questions asked by disability applicants is, “Is there an age requirement for SSI benefits and will I have difficulty getting benefits as a young adult?” Although there are claimants of all ages receiving SSI benefits it will be more difficult for younger claimants to get any type of disability benefits because the SSI will assume they have a greater ability to retrain for new work. For instance, the SSA will assume if you are 20 years old you will have a greater chance of finding sedentary work, which takes less physical effort, then say a 55 year old construction worker who has never performed a desk job.
Why can’t I get SSDI?
If you have been disabled since birth and have never had any type of employment you will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on your own work record because you have not worked, paid taxes and earned work credits. If you apply for SSDI you will be automatically denied.
*The only exception is if one of your parents was disabled and receiving SSDI Benefits and you were receiving SSDI auxiliary dependent benefits and you were disabled prior to the age of 22 you may continue to get SSDI dependent benefits even after you become an adult.