Today’s post is from a guest blogger, Ram Meyyappan…. here’s what Ram has to say:
It can be exceptionally challenging to provide the care a child with severe developmental disabilities needs and still maintain your own employment. This in turn can be incredible strain on you and your family financially, not to mention on you personally as the primary caregiver for your special needs child.
Children with developmental disabilities can potentially qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). If your child is eligible for benefits, you can get the financial resources you need to get him or her proper attention and care and to make it easier for you to work, run errands, and complete other essential and everyday tasks and activities.
While some children can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits under the work record of a disabled worker, more often than not, it is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program under which children with disabilities are able to get benefits.
The SSI program is designed to provide financial support for children and others who do not have the work history to qualify for SSDI benefits. It is also a program that evaluates the financial-need of applicants in order to determine eligibility, which means you must have very limited income and other financial resources with which to pay for the everyday needs of your developmentally disabled son or daughter.
For more information on the SSI program, please visit: http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/ssi.htm
Developmental Disabilities that qualify
If your child meets the income and financial resource limitations for SSI benefits, and also has a qualified and medically determinable disability, then he or she can get disability benefits.
“Medically determinable” simply means that the disability meets the listing of the condition from which your child suffers. That listing will appear in the SSA’s Blue Book. Following are a few of the conditions that appear, and the sections in which they are listed:
- Vision Loss and Impairment, Sections 102.02, 102.03, and 102.04
- Hearing Loss and Deafness, Section 102.10 and 102.11
- Mood Disorders, Section 112.04
- Intellectual Disabilities, Section 112.05
- Anxiety Disorders, Section 112.06
- Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Section 112.10
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Section 112.11
- Newborn and Infant Developmental and Emotional Disorders, Section 112.12
- Motor dysfunction, neurological, Section 111.06
- Cerebral Palsy, Section 111.07
- Communication impairment from a neurological disorder, Section 111.09
It is important to note that not all children that qualify for SSI benefits meet a listed condition in the Blue Book. Even if your child does not, you should still apply for benefits and try to get your son or daughter the additional support and resources needed.
Applying for Benefits on Behalf of your Child
To apply for benefits for a minor child, you must participate in an interview with an SSA representative. The interview is typically held at your local SSA office. To make your appointment, call the main helpline at 1-800-772-1213.
You will need to provide a great deal of information during the interview, including details of your child’s medical history, schooling, and his or her everyday abilities and limitations. You can learn more about what’s needed for completing the application for SSI by reviewing the Child Disability Starter Kit and the Child Disability Interview Checklist, both of which the SSA will issue to you after you schedule your appointment.
You can also find both of these documents here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits_child_eng.htm on the SSA’s website.
What to Expect
It is not unusual for disability benefit applications to initially be denied. It can take several months for the application to be reviewed. If your child is denied benefits, you will have to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial notice. You may also want to seek the assistance of a Social Security advocate or attorney if your claim is denied.
Social Security Disability Help