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?
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) funds the child support, medical, and living expenses of disabled children from low-income families.
- 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.
- 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.