The Social Security Administration, or SSA, offers some benefits for children with disabilities. SSI, or Social Security Income, is typically paid to adults who are 65 and older and who meet low income and limited resources requirements; however, some children will also meet requirements for SSI payments.
Children with disabilities must fall into the definition of disability for children and income and resources must fall within eligibility limits. If the income living in the child’s household is more than the amount allowed, SSI will be denied. Additionally, payment is limited to $30 per month if the child is in a medical facility and his insurance covers the cost.
The rules for SSI disability are:
- Child does not earn more than $1,010 in a month (as of 2012). If a child is working and earns that much or more, SSI will be denied.
- Child must have a condition that severely limits a child’s activities. The child must have mental or physical conditions or combination of these conditions.
- Child’s condition must be disabling for 12 months or more
Information for SSI is collected through a questionnaire in which you detail your child’s condition and his ability to function on a daily basis. Additional information might be requested from doctors, therapists, teachers, and other professionals. Doctors and trained staff review the information, which can take up to three to five months.
Some conditions, including HIV, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Muscular dystrophy, and severe intellectual disorder might qualify for immediate SSI payments while your application is being reviewed. Even if your SSI is denied, you will not have to pay back the money you received.
Disability reviews occur every three years for children under age 18. When children with disabilities turn 18, some new rules apply for SSI benefits. For example, only the adult’s income is taken into account, not the entire family’s income and resources.
Additionally, adult children with disabilities might be able to get SSDI, or Social Security Disability Income, if they became disabled before age 22. It is considered a “child’s” benefit because the money is paid on a parent’s Social Security record.
Visit your local Social Security office for help applying for SSI. You will need records to show income and resources, and you will need to describe how your children with disabilities is able to function on a daily basis. Call Social Security toll free at 1-800-772-1213.