A Guide to SSI Benefits for Children with Disabilities


Caregivers of children with disabilities can be financially and emotionally strained, not to mention overworked. These young people often require extra care, not just from their parents and schools but also from physicians and therapists. Special equipment, like wheelchairs and hearing aids, can be expensive, so parents of disabled children might wonder what family benefits are available and how to qualify for them. To receive protection under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, you need to know eligibility requirements and income guidelines. This article will explain how to qualify and apply for SSI disability benefits for children and how Trajector can help you get started.

Can children qualify for SSI?

In most cases, low-income children and young adults with disabilities qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and cash assistance. As a program administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is not only available to young ones who qualify for the disability program but also to certain foster children placed under foster care with an approved adoption agency or adoptive parents. The rules and regulations for eligibility are slightly different in each situation.

What might qualify a child for social security disability insurance?

Consideration for children’s SSI benefits differs slightly from the general disability criteria. When applying for a child who is disabled, the standards for meeting SSI requirements are strict. As a parent with limited income, your little one must have a medically determinable severe impairment that will last at least 12 months or result in death. Some of the most common types of disabilities related to children that the social security benefit covers include:

  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • mental retardation
  • blindness or visual impairment
  • deafness or hearing impairments
  • speech disabilities
  • neurological disorders
  • cancer, heart condition, or respiratory disorders

Read this article for more information about what qualifies as a disability for a child.

How much money can you receive to take care of a disabled dependent?

Social Security offers cash benefits to families caring for severely disabled dependents. One parent can usually receive up to $914 per month, and a married couple can receive up to $1,371 per month. Benefits for dependents with disabilities vary by state, so the amount received will depend on where you live. Also, the SSI disability benefit the family is entitled to is subject to any countable income your disabled child receives from other sources. Take that into consideration when applying.

How do you apply for disability on behalf of a child?

Once you’re confident that your child meets the childhood disability SSI eligibility criteria for a severe medical condition, begin putting together the necessary documentation to establish their disability. A medical opinion by a doctor, a diagnosis of the child’s disease, and evidence of how it affects your child’s educational and developmental progress are needed. Then you can inform the Social Security Administration that you want to apply for SSI for your qualifying child. Alternatively, call them at 1-800-772-1213 and ask to file for disability for your child.


Here’s our extensive guide on how to file for disability.

Is it hard to get approved for child benefits?

Yes, this is an all-around tough process. A denied disability claim is usually not always the fault of the applicant. Not all children with disabilities are eligible for benefits, and not all eligible children are approved or have a correct account. Strict interpretation of disability, income limit criteria, and lengthy paperwork mean you must jump many hurdles to get the support you need. You will likely be rejected at least once, so don’t get discouraged! Take another look at your application and ensure you’ve followed the instructions carefully.

Does the SSA qualify ADHD as a childhood disability?

Yes. SSA recognizes ADHD as a Neurodevelopmental Disorder under the umbrella of mental health disorders for which Social Security disability benefits are available. More specifically, if severe functional limitations cause marked restrictions in primary aspects of life, the SSI benefits for children with ADHD can be approved. Remember, though, that it is up to the SSA’s discretion whether or not a minor deserves coverage. So the SSI payment is not guaranteed no matter how qualified you are as an applicant.

Do mental illnesses qualify as childhood disabilities?

Yes. The SSA has to come up with a decision on how to classify your child’s disability. The Blue Book of Mental Disorders includes schizophrenia, bipolar depression, autism, and other mental health conditions that psychiatrists commonly treat. Since mental illness is a psychological or behavioral disorder that seriously affects a person’s thinking, feeling, and mood, the SSA will likely accept it as a childhood disability. While the SSA considers what qualifies as an extreme dysfunction on a case-by-case basis, mental illness would probably be eligible.

How will I know if my child is approved for SSI?

SSA will write you a letter that includes their decision. Typically, it takes 3 to 5 months to receive this notice. Sometimes they will contact you to clarify or get more information. If you disagree with their determination, you can request a hearing to dispute the matter. Within 60 days of receiving the letter of disapproval, you must complain about the denial by filling out a complaint form or reaching out to a local Social Security office near you.

For how long will my child be able to collect SSI?

An SSI recipient will receive benefits until age 18 when the teenager becomes ineligible. Monthly payment amounts change each year. So it’s important to check the Social Security website for updates. Besides receiving SSI, the physically impaired or special needs child can qualify for other benefits. For example, Medicaid coverage, a health care program for low-income earners, can cover these children’s medical costs. Also, your child may qualify for special education programs available in your state.

How soon can survivor benefits be set up for a child?

As soon as the child’s parent passes, the surviving spouse or guardian can make a formal request on behalf of the child to access the financial aid cover. Immediate survivor benefits may not be available for the month of the parent’s death because records need to be processed and approved. Automatic payment cannot happen right away. How quickly the Social Security Administration grants or disburses the benefits depends on various factors, such as the time it takes to receive the required documentation and review the suitability of the case.

What should I know before applying for disability for my child?

  1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) funds the child support, medical, and living expenses of disabled children from low-income families.
  2. Children with disabilities are eligible for other government assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under the Social Security Act, depending on their needs and circumstances.
  3. Apart from Medicaid services, a child who has a disability and needs additional assistance may also qualify for health insurance under a State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or an equivalent program like the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) or the US Family Health Plan (USFHP) and the National Guard or Reserve Members and Families health plan.

How can Trajector help me?

Trajector will work with you to explore all possible paths to obtaining government or private health insurance for your children. By working with a physician and allied health specialist, Trajector can assist in gathering the medical evidence needed to qualify for medical and physical therapy benefits.

A special needs child’s parent with low income and limited resources stands a better chance of gaining from a support system if they have a professional advocate to guide them through the perplexities of the medical assistance system.

Trajector represents families at all levels of appeal, helping them to gain approval with the Department of Human Services while working with the family to pursue maximum medical or financial compensation from insurance companies.

Government Benefits for Seniors Over 65

Whether it’s government benefits or financial assistance, finding the right benefits for senior citizens is challenging, especially with the influx of confusing information out there.

In this short guide, we’ll discuss all you need to know about government benefits and list the available benefits for seniors in the United States.

What are all the available benefits for senior citizens?

There are many benefits for senior citizens over 65.

These programs offer reduced or free cost options, including:

  • Health care
  • Housing assistance
  • Transportation services
  • Food and dining
  • Recreational activities

Some of these programs include:

Social security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a government agency that offers financial support to American seniors who are over 65.

The funding source is payroll taxes withheld from the paycheck of working Americans.

The Social Security Administration tracks everyone that pays into the system.

This ensures seniors have sufficient retirement savings by investing the money into special securities systems accessible through specific programs like the Medicare savings program and social security retirement insurance benefits.

Reverse Mortgage Program 

Seniors who meet the requirements of the Reverse Mortgage program may qualify for a guaranteed monthly income payment. The requirements include the following:

  • Minimum age 62
  • Have their home
  • Have reasonable Value in home equity

The most appealing feature of the HUD Reverse Mortgage program is that as long as they reside in their home, older homeowners don’t have to:

  • Repay the money received from the program; or
  • Pay for interest on it


Retirees don’t have to worry about their health coverage or the expensive cost of insurance plans. Thanks to Medicare – one of the most popular federal government programs for seniors.

Here’s how Medicare works:

Medicare Part A offers hospital insurance that is free of charge for most retirees.

Medicare Part B offers medical care and doctor’s visit at $148.50 monthly- some retirees may pay more.

Medicare Part B premiums can be removed from the beneficiary’s security payment, meaning there’s no bill.

Some Retirees may qualify for supplemental Medicare Part D, meaning that the Government covers the prescription cost.

These senior benefits can help people above 65 live a healthy and financially secure life.

Other additional benefits for seniors above 65 are:

  • Social security disability insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

What are medical flex cards, and how do I get one? 

A Medicare flex card is a debit card preloaded with a specific amount of money designed to cover certain health expenses.

Despite being called the Medicare flex card, this card is not issued by Medicare. But, a promotional process from private health insurance companies encourages people to apply for their Medicare plans.

Getting a medicare flex card starts with knowing the right private health insurance provider that gives away this card to encourage people to sign up for their Medicare Advantage Plans.

The flex card is scarce despite the recent uptick in internet advert.

For instance, the card may be offered by a specific private insurance company in a state and only available for customers who meet specific criteria and are on a select plan.

To apply for this card, contact a Medicare Advantage provider. Ask for information about the amount available, services covered, etc.

What are the criteria for senior benefits? 

Individuals classified as seniors have different eligibility requirements for receiving disability benefits. However, the employment requirements do not determine them.

To become eligible for senior benefits, you must be over 60 (assuming you pass other eligibility areas like the citizenship requirements).

The resource and income limits are higher to enable seniors to live comfortably.

In some cases, individuals above 60 must be unemployed to receive these benefits (although they may still be working). That’s why it’s important to know when to apply for social security.

Other programs are designed for seniors, depending on their location and eligibility.

These programs are funded through state and federal programs but run through local agencies like food banks and social service agencies.

To become eligible as a disabled senior, there are some options.

These programs have strict eligibility requirements and lots of documentation.

However, once a disability application is approved under SSI or a related state program, you can become approved for other disability services and programs.

When your application is approved, the SSA will assign a caseworker. A caseworker can help apply for other programs. In addition, you can assign someone to represent you for meetings or interviews regarding your benefits.

How much do you receive in monthly retirement payments?

It’s difficult to predict how much a senior can receive in monthly retirement payments.

The average social security benefits are expected to reach $1,827 per month in 2023. The highest possible social security benefit for a senior who retires at the full retirement age is expected to be $3,627 in 2023.

Can you work while receiving social security benefits? 

One of the most common questions among people is whether social security counts as income and whether an individual may work while receiving benefits.

It is still possible to get social security retirement and work simultaneously. However, remember that there’s a limit to how much they can receive.

SSI may reduce their benefit if a senior is younger than the full retirement age and earns above the yearly earning limit.

If they’re under full retirement age for the whole year, $1 will be deducted from the benefit payment for every $2 they earn above the yearly limit. The limit for 2022 is $19,560.

If their earnings are above the limit for the year and they’ll receive retirement benefits for some parts of the year, some special rules apply to earning for a year. For example, the special security disability rules after 50 allow social security to pay a full advantage for any month they consider you retired, irrespective of the individual’s yearly earnings.

How long does it take to get approved for senior benefits?

The social security approval process can be speedy, but because it is a government program with many applicants, waiting for up to six weeks to get approval is normal.

Remember that this timeframe only applies if everything works as expected.

Suppose your application contains incorrect information, such as an error in your social security number or birth date. In that case, you can expect a denial and start the whole process again.

Remember that non retirement social security benefits like disability may take up to 5 months for approval.

How Trajector can help me 

Trajector is committed to helping older Americans receive their entitled benefits on time.

With over 45 million American seniors above the age of 65 and more retiring and aging out every year, using the help of a benefits expert is a good step.

Trajectory works with industry professionals to support the legal protection and care that older adults desire.

How Much Money Can You Make on Social Security?

Millions of people rely on Social Security earnings during retirement or at least to supplement their retirement benefits, sometimes even before retirement age. But how much money can you make on Social Security, and how long does it last?

Keep reading to learn about Social Security income and eligibility requirements, including the retirement age and how it works.

How Much Can You Earn While Receiving Social Security?

How much Social Security you earn depends on your lifetime income. Of course, the more money you make while working, the more you’ll receive from the Social Security monthly benefit, but the retirement age you take benefits plays a role too.

Each year, the maximum Federal Supplemental Security Income payment adjusts with the cost of living. This is the maximum amount of earnings anyone can receive each year, but the amount you receive depends on certain factors.

How Much Does the Average Person Receive from Social Security?

For 2023, the Social Security amounts for eligible individuals are $914 and $1,371 for an individual with a spouse. These amounts are inflation-protected and adjust annually to ensure Americans have adequate retirement benefits.

What do the Social Security Amounts Depend on, and How Will I Know What I’ll Receive?

The first and most important factor the Social Security Administration considers for eligibility is if you are of full retirement age. Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age you’ll receive 100% of your benefits and is 66 if you were born between 1943 – 1954. After that, the full retirement age increases by two months for each year you were born after 1954; for anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67.

If you retire before your Full Retirement Age, you’ll receive a percentage of your full benefit, depending on the age you take it.

Since each situation differs, the only way to tell how much you’ll get is to use the My Social Security Account tool to determine your current and future earnings.

Can you Work While Living on Social Security Retirement Funds?

You can work while on Social Security and earn an income, but to be considered ‘fully retired,’ your wages must not exceed the annual earnings limit. The Social Security Administration adjusts the earnings caps each year based on the national wage trends. 

Does Income Affect your Social Security Benefits?

If your income exceeds the annual earnings cap for Social Security benefits, you’ll lose $1 of retirement benefits for every $2 your income exceeds the cap.

For example, if your wages are $5,000 more than the earnings cap, you’ll lose $2,500 in annual Social Security benefits or $416.67 per month. Remember that the monthly cap pertains to your gross income, not income after taxes.

How Much Money can you Make on Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability is insurance you pay into during your working years that the Social Security Administration handles. If you become disabled and can no longer work, you might earn Social Security Disability Insurance pay for yourself and your dependents. You don’t have to be of full retirement age. Still, the disability must last for over a year and prevent you from doing your current work or adjusting work to accommodate your disability.

The average person in 2022 on disability received $1,358 per month in disability earnings, and the maximum amount anyone could receive is a $3,345 monthly benefit. How much you receive greatly depends on how much you’ve earned up until you were disabled.

Is Social Security Enough to Keep me Living Comfortably or Cover my Medical Bills?

The average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,547.87 per month, including those receiving Social Security Disability insurance benefits. Social Security might be enough to keep you comfortable without a housing payment and below-average living expenses, but then there are medical bills.

You aren’t eligible for Medicare until age 65, and the free portion of Medicare only covers basic hospitalization. It doesn’t cover doctor’s visits, medicine, or other treatments. Medicare Part B has a premium, as does Part D, if you want prescription coverage.  

Social Security income is meant to supplement your retirement savings rather than be your sole source of income.

Do you Pay Taxes on Social Security?

You don’t automatically pay taxes on Social Security income earnings. It depends on a few factors:

  • If you file taxes individually and have a combined income of over $25,000, you’ll pay income tax on SSI benefits
  • If you file taxes jointly and have a combined income of over $32,000, you’ll pay income tax on SSI benefits

Your combined income includes your adjusted gross income from work, investments, or any businesses plus one-half of your Social Security income.

Does Social Security Count as Income?

You must report your Social Security income on your tax returns, on line 6b of the 1040, whether or not you’ve reached full retirement age. This doesn’t mean your income is immediately taxable, though. It’s only taxable if your income, including Social Security, exceeds the limits above.

When do you Stop Receiving Social Security?

Social Security benefits last for as long as you live. You can outlive your retirement funds and savings, but you’ll never have to worry about losing Social Security income, even if you take your earnings before your full retirement age.

How can Trajector Help Me?

Getting your Social Security benefits can feel overwhelming and confusing. Many people give up on the process because they don’t understand what they’re entitled to and what the Social Security Administration needs, especially if they need Social Security Disability benefits and not benefits because they’ve reached retirement age.

Trajector can help you through the process, ensuring you have all the evidence needed to obtain the SSI you deserve. No one should fight the battle alone or feel like they don’t deserve the benefits. You worked for them, and we will help you get them.

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Considered a Disability?

Rheumatoid arthritis disability (RA) is often misleadingly linked to simply aging. On the contrary, RA is an autoimmune disease. While it’s more common in the elderly due to the natural deterioration of our bones and joints, RA affects up to two percent of the world’s population. Moreover, it doesn’t discriminate on age-it can also affect younger people’s lives.

RA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can lead to functional disability. As with all autoimmune diseases, the condition appears when your body’s defense works against you rather than for you. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent your chances of developing RA. Still, genetics play a massive part in this condition, so there’s no surefire way to prevent or stop the onset should you be unfortunate enough to be struck with the disease.

RA symptoms to look out for if you suspect you might have arthritis would be pain and swelling in your fingers and toes, but you may also experience joint pain in the knees, elbows, shoulders, ankles, wrists, thighs, and spine. This is because RA impacts the synovial fluid around the joints, which causes them to become inflamed, and may lead to deterioration of the bone, joint damage, and eventually, in severe cases, can result in permanent disfigurement.

Once diagnosed with this medical condition, it’s possible to stem the tide of RA by building muscle around the affected areas, maintaining healthy body weight, and engaging in regular low-impact exercise.

Is rheumatoid arthritis a disability?

It entirely depends on the extent that you suffer from arthritis as to whether it will be considered a work disability or not in the eyes of the SSA. For the SSA to consider RA a valid disability, then you would have to prove that the severity of your arthritis precludes you from being able to work. This includes not being able to perform sedentary occupations like working at a desk job.

In short, if you can demonstrate that you have difficulties in performing everyday tasks, which prevent you from holding down a full-time job, then the SSA will consider your medical condition a work disability.

Can you work with rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long term disability, and although there are no cures for it, it’s not a death sentence. You cannot die from RA, but it can certainly impact your quality of life and perhaps your ability to work. Another myth is that a patient will get gradually worse with time. While this can often be true, it’s never a foregone conclusion, and actually, there may be no degeneration at all. In some cases, a patient can see their RA improve significantly over time with the right diet, exercise, and treatment.

Nobody dreams of staying home watching daytime television all day, so if you’re asking yourself if you can work with rheumatoid arthritis, no one will blame you. The answer is, of course, determined by how your condition disrupts your ability to perform routine tasks.

Therefore, should your condition be mild enough, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to work. On the contrary, you will be expected to work if the disease isn’t severe enough. This is known as substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Substantial gainful activity is defined as work that (1) involves doing significant and productive mental or physical activity and (2) is done for pay or profit.

If you suffer from severe fatigue, struggle with common tasks, or experience pain while performing routine work duties and daily activities, whether working in a physically active role or even in a sedentary position. It may not be a choice whether you can work or not. In this case, it would be inevitable that you would have to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD).

 Your eligibility for social security disability insurance

So what conditions automatically qualify you for disability[1]? Among the types of conditions automatically entitled to SSD are musculoskeletal problems and autoimmune disease, meaning conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis qualify. 

You may be eligible for SSD Rheumatoid Arthritis benefit if you fulfill the criteria laid down in the Social Security Administration blue book listing 14.0 and can provide the medical evidence required, such as medical records history, physical examination report, or laboratory reports as necessary.

Beyond proving that your condition precludes you from working in a full-time job, there are still a number of hurdles you have to face, such as your annual income, the disease duration, the length of time you’ve been employed, and the requisite amount of work credits next to your name.

How much in benefits can I receive if I qualify?

If entitled to SSDI benefits, then you may be awarded up to $40k per annum. The final sum will depend on your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and how much social security you have paid on your income to date.

You may still be entitled to receive benefits if you are able to work a little bit. This is, of course, dependent on how much you earn. If your SGA falls below the set threshold, then you may still be able to apply.

How do you apply for disability?

First of all, consult the bluebook to determine whether your condition meets the requirements for social security disability benefits. It’s then recommended to make an appointment with your family physician to establish the medical evidence needed to submit your disability claim. You will then need to contact the SSA to apply, which can be done online, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or by going to your local SSA office if you prefer to speak to someone face-to-face. You may also find it beneficial to consult a disability lawyer such as Trajector to oversee your claim and take the pain out of the process.

How can Trajector help me?

Social security benefits can be a minefield to navigate, and a staggering 70% of applications submitted for social security disability benefits are initially rejected every year. Trajector boasts over 20 years of experience facilitating the disability application process, with our experts providing specialist guidance and support to our clients, so they receive what they are legally and ethically entitled to.