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SSI for Disabled Children – Bucks County

If you are the parent of a disabled child and you are seeking financial assistance from the Social Security Administration, you have come to the right place. At Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein, we’re Social Security disability lawyers with over five decades of experience securing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) assistance for children, including disabled adult child benefits, in Bucks County.

Caring for a physically and/or mentally disabled child can be both emotionally draining and financially devastating, but fortunately under certain circumstances, financial assistance is available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for both disabled children and disabled adult children. With this in mind, we invite you to read on as we provide some basic information on these two programs.

Additionally, we will explain why we believe it would be in your best interest to enlist the assistance of our experienced Social Security disability lawyers.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payments for Children with Disabilities

Basically, SSI makes monthly payments to people with limited income and resources who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled. However, if your child is under 18, he or she may qualify for SSI assistance if they have a medical condition, or combination of conditions, that meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children. Approval will also be contingent upon the claimant falling within financial resource limitations.

Other important facts to keep in mind include the following:

  • The amount of the SSI benefits varies from state to state. Pennsylvania is one of the states that supplement SSI payments.
  • When deciding if your child is eligible for SSI assistance, the SSA considers both your child’s income and the income and resources of family members living in their household.
  • These rules not only apply if your child lives at home, but also if they’re away at school, returning home periodically – if he or she is subject to your control.
  • If the child’s income and resources, or the family’s income and resources, are more than the allowed amount, the claim for SSI benefits will be denied.
  • The monthly SSI benefit is limited to $30 if the child is in a medical facility and insurance is paying for his or her care.

SSI Rules Concerning Disability

A child must meet all of the following requirements to be medically eligible for SSI assistance:

  • A child, who is not blind, must not be working or earning more than $1,310 a month in 2021. A child who is blind must not be working or earning more than $2,190 a month. Note: These earning amounts ordinarily change each year.
  • The child must have a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, that result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This requirement means that the condition(s) must severely limit the child’s activities.
  • The child’s condition(s) must have been disabling, or expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months.

Required Information

When you submit an application for SSI assistance, the SSA will ask for detailed information on the child’s medical condition and how it affects their ability to perform daily tasks. You will also be asked to give permission to doctors, teachers, and therapists to provide the SSA with information regarding your child’s condition.

You can speed up the application process by providing the SSA with your child’s medical and school records.

The Next Step

The SSA sends all this information to the Bureau of Disability Determination to be reviewed by doctors and other professional staff members. They may ask you to take your child for additional medical exams or tests, paid for by the SSA.

The state review process may take several months, and in the interim, SSA may begin making immediate benefit payments for up to six months for certain conditions, including total deafness or blindness, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, severe intellectual disability, symptomatic HIV infection, or a birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces.

If your claim for SSI benefits is denied, you are not required to reimburse the SSA for these payments.

When Your Child Turns 18

When your child reaches 18, the SSA uses a different set of medical rules and financial criteria to determine if they will continue to receive SSI benefits.

  • The SSA does not count the income and resources of family members (except a spouse, if your adult child has married) in determining if they continue to meet the financial limits for SSI benefits. Only the applicant and his or her spouse’s income are considered.
  • When your child turns 18, the SSA will conduct a medical review to determine if the 18-year old is still medically eligible for SSI assistance.
  • Even if your child was not eligible for benefits prior to reaching the age of 18, due to family income and resources, they may now be eligible for SSI assistance.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits for Adults Disabled Since Childhood

The SSDI program pays benefits to adults who have a disability they suffered before reaching age 22. This is considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid based on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

To qualify, at least one of the child’s parents must:

  • Be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
  • Have died but worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Your child does not have to have worked to qualify, and SSDI adult “child” benefits continue as long as they remain disabled. However, marriage of the adult “child” may affect benefit eligibility.

Determination if a “Child” is Disabled and Entitled to Benefits

For those 18 and older, the SSA will evaluate disability the same way they would for an adult and send the application to the Bureau of Disability Determination for a final determination.

The Benefit of Reaching Out to an Experienced SSI / SSDI Attorney

From this summary we have provided, you can see how complicated and confusing it can be to apply for either SSI or SSDI assistance for yourself or your child. Our dedicated attorneys at Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein are prepared to assist you throughout the application process. This is especially important to any parent raising a disabled child, and there is no reason to take on this task alone.

For SSI assistance for children, or for disabled adult child benefits, contact Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein today to schedule your initial consultation.

Posted on February 28th, 2021 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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