Even though your child has a disability, there is no guarantee that he or she will be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, benefits. The Social Security Administration, or SSA, reviews various factors including your household's income to determine eligibility. To improve the chances that your child receives the benefits needed, here are some steps you can take.
Talk to Your Child's Doctor
In order to qualify for SSI, your child must have a formal diagnosis of a medical condition that is expected to last 12 months or longer and that impairs your child's abilities. If you have not secured a formal diagnosis of a medical or psychological condition, schedule an examination with your child's doctor.
If possible, have your child assessed by a specialist. A specialist can provide a more detailed diagnosis and report that will be difficult for the SSA to deny. For instance, if your child has a heart condition, he or she should be evaluated by a cardiologist. If your child has a psychological disorder, such as an anxiety disorder, a child therapist or psychologist should assess him or her.
Collect Your Financial Information
Even if your child has an impairment that would qualify him or her to receive SSI benefits, he or she could still be denied if your household's income exceeds the limits set by the SSA. The amounts vary based on the number of people in the household and whether it is headed by one or two parents.
For instance, a one-parent household can earn up to $3,057 a month. A two-parent household can earn up to $3,791 and still qualify.
Before applying, collect your household's financial documents, including paycheck stubs, and determine how much is earned over the course of a month. It is important to note that unearned income, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, can also be factored into eligibility.
Be Detailed in Describing Your Child's Disability
Your child's diagnosis is not enough to prove your child should receive disability. The SSA needs to know how the impairment limits your child's ability to perform daily living functions, such as bathing and eating.
As the primary caregiver for your child, you know how the condition impacts his or her life. When completing the SSI application, be very detailed. For instance, if your child suffers from behavioral problems, such as anger outbursts, note how often they occur, the intensity of them, and what measures it takes to calm him or her.
Work with a social security lawyer experienced in handling SSI cases for children to find out what other steps you can take to improve the chances of approval.