It takes tremendous courage to cope with a disability, especially for a child who has their entire future ahead of them. To ensure that disabled children are provided the proper care, treatment, and attention that they need on a medical, financial, and social level, benefits are available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for qualifying children.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are given to children younger than the age of 18 who are determined to have disabilities and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be given to adults who developed a disability in childhood. Since SSDI benefits are paid based on a parent's Social Security earnings record, it is referred to as a "child's" benefit even though it's given to adults.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a complex and demanding process. Not only are there strict rules and standards in terms of what is considered a disability, but there are also several steps to the application and appeal process. It is extremely important for parents, caregivers, or representatives of children younger than age 18 who have disabilities to be fully aware of the SSD claims process. It may also be beneficial to consult with a New York Social Security attorney who has years of experience helping disabled children and adults obtain the Social Security disability benefits that they need and deserve.
In order for your child to be considered eligible for SSI, the following must apply:
- A child can't be working and earning over $1,010 a month in 2012. This earnings amount is typically different each year. SSA will not consider your child disabled if he or she is working and earning more than the designated earnings amount.
- A physical or mental condition, or a grouping of conditions, must cause a child to experience "marked and severe functional limitations" in which his or her activities are seriously limited.
- The disabling condition that a child suffers from must have been, or is expected to be, disabling for at least 12 months
In addition to a child being required to meet Social Security's definition of disability for children, his or her income must also adhere to income and resources eligibility requirements. SSA evaluates these additional factors based on the income and resources of family members living in the disabled child's household as well as for a child who is away at school but comes home frequently and is subject to a parent's or caregiver's control.
If the income and resources of a child or their family members living in the same household is more than the amount permitted by SSA, the application for SSI benefits will be denied. When a child resides in a medical facility where health insurance pays for care, SSA limits the monthly SSI payment to $30.
Since it may take three to five months for SSA to determine whether your child is disabled and will receive monthly benefits, SSA recognizes that some children can't wait that long. SSI payments may be made immediately and for up to six months if a child suffers from any of the following:
- HIV infection
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Cerebral palsy
- Down syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Severe intellectual disorder (child age 7 or older)
- Birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces
If it is determined that your child's disability is not detrimental enough to call for SSI benefits, the SSI payments your child receives won't be required to be paid back.
Because the Social Security application process involves so many steps, it is easy to omit important information that may prove your child's right to benefits. This is why seeking guidance and counsel from a skilled New York SSI child disability attorney can make such a difference in whether a child is awarded benefits or not. The legal team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help ensure that you meet deadlines, have filled out your application correctly, and that you've gathered all the proper and necessary evidence from medical and school records. Call us at (212) 986-7353 today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.