A child may be eligible for SSI benefits if he or she is either blind or disabled. A child is a person who is not married, not a head of household, and is under the age of 18, or is under the age of 22 and is a student regularly attending school.
The income and resources of the child are considered as well as the income and resources of the family members the child lives with. If the income and resource limits are met, the child must prove marked and severe functional limitations that have lasted for 12 months, is expected to last for 12 months or more, or is expected to result in death.
A child applying for SSI does not prove he or she has an inability to work. Social Security reviews the severity of the impairments in several areas of functioning and compares the child’s ability to function compared to other children the same age without impairments. In addition to medical records, school records, testing, evaluations, and teacher questionnaires are considered in evaluating the child’s level of impairment.
If the child is not working, and has a severe impairment, Social Security considers whether a listing is met or equaled. If a listed impairment is not met, Social Security next considers six broad areas of functioning when determining if a child is disabled. In order to qualify, the child must have marked limitations in two domains or an extreme limitation in one domain. The domains are: (1) acquiring and using information, (2) attending and completing tasks, (3) interacting and relating with others, (4) moving about and manipulating objects, (5) caring for yourself, and (6) health and physical well-being. All the child’s activities at home, at school, and in the community are considered. Some examples include the child’s ability to get dressed for school, cooperating with caregivers, playing with friends, and doing class assignments. In order to meet the requirement for a marked limitation, the child’s ability to function must be seriously limited.
In the domain of acquiring and using information, the child’s ability to learn information and use that information is considered. For example, an infant shakes a rattle and learns it will make noise, a toddler learns how to play simple games, an older child learns how to read and do math, a teenager may learn the rules for driving a car. A mental or physical impairment can affect a child’s ability to learn and use information. In addition to a learning disorder, the child may have anxiety, or a speech or hearing disorder that affect the ability to learn in the classroom.
For attending and completing tasks, the child’s ability to focus and maintain attention long enough to begin, carry through, and finish tasks is considered. A limitation in this domain is most often seen with children who have mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but a physical impairment may also limit a child’s ability to function at age appropriate level in this domain.
A child’s ability to appropriately initiate and respond to exchanges with other people, and to form and sustain relationships is considered in the domain of interacting and relating with others. A child with a limitation in this domain may be socially withdrawn, isolated, or prefer to be left alone. A physical impairment, for example a child with a physical abnormality may have difficulty making friends. The ability to interact with others at an age-appropriate level is considered in this domain.
A child’s gross and fine motor skills are considered in the domain of moving about and manipulating objects. Physical actions require various degrees of strength, dexterity, and pace to accomplish an activity (for example, getting dressed, or jumping rope). Both physical and mental impairments can affect a child in this domain.
In caring for yourself, the child’s ability to maintain a health emotional and physical state is considered. For example, how a child copes with stress, takes care of their own health, possessions, and living area.
In the domain of health and physical well-being, Social Security considers the cumulative effects of physical and mental impairments on the child’s ability to function. Examples of limitations in this domain include, tiredness caused by depression, chronic side effects from medications, needs frequent treatment or therapy, experiences period exacerbations, or needs intensive medical care.
When a child turns 18, Social Security uses the rules for adults in evaluating whether he or she is disabled. If the child began receiving disability benefits before age 18, their case will be reviewed using the adult disability rules once he or she attains 18 years of age.
Attorneys at Martone Law Firm have experience representing children claiming SSI benefits. We can assist the parent or guardian with gathering all the necessary information to support their child’s claim for SSI, including carefully preparing an older child to attend an administrative hearing. Contact Martone Law Firm today for information on your child’s claim for SSI benefits.
If a parent starts receiving retirement or disability benefits or is diseased, their child may qualify for SSDI benefits if he or she is also unmarried, 18 years or older, and became disabled before the age of 22. This is known as disabled adult child. It is not necessary that the child ever worked since benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.