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Can my child qualify?

If you are under the age of 18 years of age the Social Security Administration considers you a child. If you are disabled, according to the Social Security Administration’s definition, you may qualify for disability based on your own medical record through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) should not be confused with Social Security Disability Insurance which is awarded to disabled workers, although some children may qualify for auxiliary benefits from their parents under this program. Children are not paid SSDI benefits based on their own medical record unless they were the child of an eligible worker and they became disabled prior to the age of 22. Under this situation they may continue to receive SSDI benefits even after they pass the age of maturity. Other children will become ineligible for Social Security Disability Insurance  (SSDI) auxiliary benefits when they reach age 18 or 19 (if they are attending school).

How can my child get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income for children is awarded to those individuals who are blind or disabled. For adults, the SSA evaluates whether or not the claimant can work and perform substantial gainful activity. Children, however, because they do not work, have a different standard.  Instead of evaluating whether a child can work, the SSA will determine if the child’s conditions are "marked and severe."

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of conditions which it considers automatically disabling. This listing is called the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments or Blue Book. There is an adult guide and a children’s guide. When the SSA receives a child’s application for Supplemental Security Income they will first determine if the child meets the income and resource limitations for the SSI program and then they will evaluate whether the child’s condition is listed in the SSA Blue Book or equals a listed condition.

What is Marked and Severe?

When evaluating whether or not a child’s condition is marked and severe the SSA will determine if the child’s condition causes “marked limitations” in certain areas of functioning or “extreme limitations” in one area of functioning.

Severe is defined as “more than mild or slight.” Obviously, there is a bit of subjectivity to these definitions, and the SSA will rely heavily on evidence provided by the child’s doctors, therapists, school counselors, teachers, etc.

Medical and school records will be evaluated to determine how well a child functions in specific social settings as well as their academic record. The Social Security Administration is specifically evaluating how they are performing compared to their peers to make a determination if their condition is “marked and severe.”

My child is in special education classes. Are they disabled?

Although attendance in special education may be one indication that a child has marked and severe limitations, it will not guarantee that they will be determined disabled. There are some children with mild limitations that are in special education, and many other children with marked and severe limitations which have been “mainstreamed” into the standard classroom setting.

Does the Social Security Administration consider the parent’s income?

As mentioned above, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is only awarded to claimants who have VERY limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider the income of the family in their nonmedical evaluation of income and resources (if the child is living with the family and they are providing income and financial support to the child).






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