Eligible For Disability Benefits?

Did You Know Your Child Could Be Eligible For Disability Benefits?

ssa150pxAs a parent or guardian of a child with special needs, you probably know about the many challenges that come with providing the best possible care. Especially since the needed care can be a financial burden, sometimes a little extra help can do wonders for your wallet. The Social Security Administration (SSA), fortunately, offers disability benefits that have the potential to significantly help you and your child. These financial benefits can help you afford proper treatment and daily expenses, or, even, take time off work to care for your child.

Disability Programs
The SSA offers two main benefit programs to disabled individuals:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSDI is geared more towards adult workers who become disabled because you need to have worked and paid into the Social Security system in order to qualify. For your child with special needs, you would most likely want to apply for SSI benefits.

Since your child most likely hasn’t paid Social Security taxes from work, the SSI program will be more suitable for you. SSI pays benefits to elderly and disabled individuals who meet the asset limit. For a couple, you can’t possess more than $3,000 in assets, excluding your home and one vehicle. For your child to qualify, you will need to submit part of your finances for evaluation on their behalf. This is called ‘parental deeming.’ http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi

Medical Eligibility Requirements
Your child will also need to meet specific medical criteria in order to qualify for benefits. First, he or she must be considered disabled according to the SSA. This means that they can’t be working at a job that’s considered to be substantial work, they have a physical or mental condition that causes severe limitations, and they are expected to have the condition for at least one year.

Next, your child will also need to meet medical criteria that the SSA keeps in a guidebook called the “Blue Book”. In the Blue Book, which is divided into sections to adults and children, there are specific listings for any condition that the SSA considers disabling.

Your child will have to meet the criteria that are listed for their condition, or if there is no listing for their condition, they can still qualify by matching a different listing in severity or a listing for their symptoms. The Blue Book contains listings for intellectual disabilities, mental disorders, diseases, and physical conditions. http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions

Disability Application Process
To prepare for the application, you will need the following:

  • Doctor’s notes, records of treatments, and any other objective medical information.
  • Statements from teachers or professionals who can attest to your child’s limitations due to disability.
  • Financial information for SSI eligibility

When you are ready, begin the application by scheduling an appointment with someone from the local SSA office, as applications for children must be initiated in person with an SSA representative. Make sure to bring as much information as possible that proves your child’s condition is serious enough to qualify for benefits.

Don’t worry if the application process takes anywhere several months before you receive a decision. If the SSA rejects your application, you can just work to appeal that decision. It can be helpful to work with a disability advocate to get the application accepted, as they are experts in the field and know how to present all of the documents and information needed to help your claim.

As the process may seem like a bit of a handful, knowing all of the facts and information about the process can be useful when applying. The financial assistance you and your child receive will be well worth the effort when you get your disability claim accepted.