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Children's Mental Disorders

Can my child get disability benefits for a Mental Disorder?

The Social Security Administration recognizes that there are many mental disorders which are very disabling for children. In the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (a list of all the conditions and diseases the SSA finds automatically disabling) there are eleven diagnostic mental disorders for children.

Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments – Childhood Listings

Mental Disorders are listed on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments Childhood Listings (Part B). They are found under the listing 112.00 Mental Disorders – Childhood.

The listings for mental disorders in children are arranged in 11 diagnostic categories:

The Social Security Administration separates the listing of impairments for children because they acknowledge that there are various signs and symptoms which are present in young adults that vary significantly from those of an adult.

My child is diagnosed with one of these conditions but was denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits

The listing first identifies the disorder and provides a short introductory statement about the disorder. Even if your child has been diagnosed with the condition identified on the SSA Listing of Impairments this does not mean they will be considered disabled.

The second part of the listing identifies the criteria needed, evidenced with good medical records, to prove that your child is disabled. This criterion outlines the types of functional limitations that your child must have to be considered disabled. The SSA uses the functional limitations which are exhibited by your child to determine the severity of their mental disorder.

What functional areas does the Social Security Administration evaluate? They will look at your child’s communicative ability, social functions, cognitive functions, motor functions, personal function, and their ability to maintain concentration, persistence and pace. These criteria are evaluated against other children in their age group.

What evidence do I need to prove my child is disabled?

Many children may be severely disabled and have not received the proper medical care to make the right diagnosis or generate sufficient medical evidence to prove disability. If you hope to win benefits for your child’s mental disorders you must have documentation from acceptable medical sources. Additional evidence which can also supplemental medical evidence include information from occupational, speech and physical therapists, nurses, social workers, teachers, and special educators.

Evidence is available but my Supplemental Security Income was denied

What if your child has been diagnosed and you have sufficient medical evidence that they are disabled but the Supplemental Security Income claim was still denied. It is likely that your family does not meet the income and resource limitations of the Supplemental Security Income program.

Supplemental Security Income is provided only to children who are determined disabled and who have very limited income and resources. If your child lives with their parents, the SSA will automatically “deem” a portion of the parent’s income to them, and if the parents make too much money the child is automatically denied, regardless of the severity of their mental health disorder.
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