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SSI - Why was my child denied?

ACAJUTLA, El Salvador (July 18, 2011) Lt. Erin...

Qualifying for SSI Benefits

Children who have a severe disability which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if they are under of the age of 18, not performing substantial gainful activity (making more than $1010 in 2012) and their condition  “markedly and severely” limits the child’s functional abilities.  Additionally, the child and their family must have very limited income and resources.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods to determine if an individual is disabled: does their listing meet or exceed a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as Blue Book this book identifies conditions that the SSA considers automatically disabling), or is the individual able to perform substantial gainful activity (this is done through a medical vocational allowance).

Since children generally do not perform work the child’s condition will be evaluated to determine if it meets or exceeds a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments. The SSA had created both an adult listing and a child’s listing, and the child’s disability will be evaluated using the child’s listing.

Why was my child denied SSI benefits?

Because a child’s condition is evaluated only against the listing and they generally do not qualify for SSDI benefits (unless they are getting either an SSDI auxiliary benefit from a disabled parent or they were getting an auxiliary benefit but continue to receive these benefits because they were disabled prior to age 22) evaluating why your child may have been denied for SSI benefits is generally very simple. The reasons your child may have been denied SSI benefits include the following:

If your child lives with their parents the SSA will evaluate whether or not the parent’s income and resources are too high. SSI is a program only for those claimants who have very limited income and resources. If the parent’s income and resources are too high and do not meet the threshold established for the SSI program the child will be denied SSI benefits.

If the SSA evaluates the child’s condition and determines that it does not meet a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments they will deny the child’s SSI benefit.

As mentioned above, the child’s condition must be expected to last for 12 continuous months. If the child’s condition is a short-term disability the SSA will deny the SSI claim.

Children who are working or making too much money can be denied SSI benefits. For instance, if the child is 16 or 17 and is able to make $1010 per month the SSA will determine they are not disabled with a severe mental or physical health condition.

When your child is denied SSI benefits the SSA should clearly state why the SSI claim was denied on the SSA denial letter. Some denials can be appealed within 60 days from the date of the denial letter. Contact a disability lawyer if you have questions.
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