Obtaining SSI Benefits for Children With Disabilities

When most people think of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they tend to think of adults who become unable to work due to illness or injury. However, a substantial number of SSI recipients are not adults, but rather children with medical conditions that cause severe impairment. Here is what you need to know about getting SSI for children with disabilities:

  1. A child must have severe medical issues
    • For a child to be considered disabled and thus eligible for SSI benefits, they must have some kind of severe medical issue, or a combination of medical issues. These issues must create “marked and severe functional limitations,” which means that it must significantly limit the activities a child can do. Children with disabilities who do not suffer these severe limitations may not be eligible for SSI.
  2. It must last for at least twelve months, or be fatal
    • Suffering these medical problems is not enough, as many children suffer injuries or illnesses that temporarily limit their activities. Instead, they must last (or be expected to last) at least twelve months before they can become eligible. Alternatively, their condition must be terminal, which allows them to bypass the 12 month expectation.
  3. They must be evaluated by a state agency
    • A state agency known as Disability Determination Services (DDS) is in charge of evaluating all applicants for SSDI and SSI benefits. This includes children with disabilities, who must be evaluated by a medical examiner at DDS before they can receive benefits. Unfortunately, a diagnosis from a child’s primary care physician is not enough to receive benefits without a DDS evaluation.
  4. The decision from SSA will likely take months
    • Once your child has been evaluated by DDS, it could easily take months before a decision is handed down by the SSA. If you have been approved for benefits, you will then begin to receive those benefits, provided the mandatory five month waiting period has elapsed. If you have not been approved, you will then have the opportunity to appeal your claim.
  5. They will likely also be eligible for Medicaid
    • Children with disabilities who have been approved for SSI benefits will typically also be able to receive Medicaid benefits. In most cases, they will become automatically eligible, not requiring any additional input or paperwork from you. However, if you encounter any difficulty when applying for benefits for your child, including completing the application or appealing your benefits claim, you should speak to a lawyer with knowledge of Social Security Disability law.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.

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