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SSI Hearing - What if my daughter does not display her disorder?

SSI and speech disorders in Children

Recently on our disability forum we had a parent ask, “We have a SSI hearing scheduled soon. What if my daughter, who has a speech disorder, does not have any trouble talking to the administrative judge at the administrative hearing?”

What to expect at the SSI hearing

If you have an SSI hearing scheduled most likely you have waited months and fought through at least one appeal to get to this point. The good news is that the administrative hearing is generally the best chance to win SSI benefits because unlike the other phases of the application and reconsideration steps you will for the first time get to talk to someone face to face who has the ability to deny or grant disability benefits.

What if the disorder is not displayed at the SSI hearing?

But you specifically asked what would happen if your child talked to the judge and did not have a speech disorder. Prior to the SSI hearing the judge will have reviewed the medical evidence for your child and determined its validity. At the hearing the judge will consider whether her condition is marked and severe and whether it causes severe limitations. If you claim your daughter has a severe stutter, for instance, but they never stutter this could be detrimental to your case.

Consider, there are many types of disorders which are not obvious to an observer. For instance, it is not unusual for a claimant who is depressed to have a “good” day in court. In this case they may appear fine at the SSI hearing, but there is sufficient medical evidence to prove that most days they do not function well enough to work (if they are an adult).

But consider other disorders. If you applied for disability because you stated you were paralyzed but then you walked into the courthouse on your own volition the judge is likely to assume you are not paralyzed.

Why would your daughter not have display evidence of a disorder?

Given that it can months or years to get a SSI hearing and children grow and develop, often overcoming what once may have been a severe condition, it may be likely that although your daughter may have been disabled when you applied for SSI, maybe she is no longer disabled.

What do you need to prove at the SSI hearing?

According to the SSA, the child is considered to have “marked limitation” in speech if the following is present:

Entire phrases or sentences in the child’s conversation are intelligible to unfamiliar listeners at least 50 percent (half) of the time but no more than 67 percent (two-thirds) of the time on the child’s first attempt; and the child’s sound production or phonological patterns (the ways in which you combine speech sounds) are atypical for the child’s age.

The SSA will expect that the child has taken the appropriate testing and that their overall, “language functioning is at least two standard deviations below the mean. In addition, the evidence of the child’s daily communication functioning must be consistent with the child’s test score.”

If your child’s condition does not meet the conditions outlined above it may be time to talk to a disability lawyer to determine if you still have a SSI case.
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