Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Your Child

in General

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the type of social security disability for those with little or no income and assets who are disabled, blind or over 65. If you do not have enough work hours to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI), this is an ideal method to help support yourself. Often, this is also the route for the families of disabled children in need of extra resources and support. If you are a parent or guardian seeking SSI to help support your child, learn what information you need to qualify.

Disability and Resources
The total amount of SSI a child receives depends on his or her condition and the total earnings of the child’s guardians. Assets that will be considered when applying for SSI include income, savings, real estate and stocks. In terms of disability, the child in consideration must have experienced severe functional limitations for at least 12 months. Because the person in question is a minor, there is no need to prove that they are unable to work. However, they must have severe limitations that affect them on a daily basis. For example, the inability to perform basic functions like dressing, washing, or feeding oneself would qualify a child for SSI.

Representative Payee
In the majority of cases, the SSI income of the disabled child is sent to a parent or guardian known as a representative payee, who must be elected to receive funds on behalf of the child. Each representative payee must adhere to strict guidelines.

The Process
After you have applied for SSI on the SSA official website, the SSA will conduct interviews to determine the severity of the case and whether you and your child qualify. This may include reaching out to other parents or guardians, teachers, and therapists to discuss your child’s condition. To aid the process, it is best to have your child’s medical and school documents ready to present to the SSA. After initial interviews, follow-up information may be requested for specialists to review.

After approval, you should start to receive benefits in approximately three-to-five months. In certain cases, the SSA will provide payments immediately for up to six months while the situation is in review. These exceptions include:

  • Total blindness
  • Total deafness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Severe intellectual disability (child age 4 or older)
  • Symptomatic HIV infection
  • Birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces

Growing Up
When the child becomes 18, they are viewed as an adult by law and therefore need to be re-evaluated for SSI in order to continue receiving benefits. For full-time students, this re-evaluation can be postponed until age 19. In all other cases, there will be a re-evaluation of the young adult in question to decide whether or not they will be able to financially support themselves through work. Note that the qualifications for minors receiving SSI are different than the qualifications for adults. Elements that will be evaluated include the young adult’s educational record, work experience, and ability to handle work-related stress.

When applying for SSI, having a lawyer at your side can help regulate the process and ensure your review goes smoothly. Contact Ladas & Hoopes for an initial consultation at no charge to you.