Does My Child Have a Qualifying Disability?

The brochure titled “Benefits For Children With Disabilities” outlines what qualifies a child for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on disability.

To be considered to have a disability and eligible for SSI, a child must meet all of the following requirements (for 2014) 1:

  • Must not be earning more than $1070/month (for 2014; value changes every year)
  • Must have physical or mental condition (or combination) that must severely limit the child’s activities and functioning
  • Must have a condition that has been disabling, or is expected to be disabling for at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death

Categories of Impairments

Social Security provides list of impairments that may qualify a child (under 18; those older have a different list 2) for disability under Social Security, located at Listing Of Impairments – Childhood Listings (Part B).

Categories of Impairments (Part B) 3:

  • Growth Impairment
  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Impairments
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological
  • Mental Disorders
  • Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
  • Immune System Disorders

You and your child’s doctor(s) must be ready to provide very detailed information about the child’s medical condition and how it affects his functionality on a daily basis 4.  Information will be requested from doctors, teachers, therapists, and other professionals 5.  Bringing the child’s medical and school records to meetings with Social Security will help to speed up the process 6.

Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST)

You can also utilize the BEST (Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool) provided by the Social Security Administration, located at benefits.gov/ssa.  It is an anonymous online screening tool that will help you assess (through answers on a questionnaire) if you (or your child) is eligible for benefits administered by the Social Security Administration.  Based on the answers you provide to the questions (5-10 minutes), the tool will list the benefits you (or your child) may be eligible for, and provide information about how to qualify and apply for the benefits 7.

BEST will screen for potential eligibility for:

For some conditions, the SSA makes immediate SSI payments to the child (while the state agency is deciding whether the child qualifies as “disabled,” which could take 3~5 months) for up to 6 months.  Some conditions that may qualify are: HIV infection, total Blindness, total Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, severe Intellectual Disorder (7+), and birth weight below 2lbs 10oz 8.

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