disabled child in wheelchair

Can Children Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

It’s been well established that Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can positively impact adults with disabilities who have limited or no income. What about children? Can children receive SSD benefits too?

Children can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she is age 18 or younger or is under the age of 22 and attending school. For a child to receive SSI Disability, he or she must be blind or disabled. In order to be considered disabled, the child must have a severe mental impairment, a severe physical impairment, or both. The impairment(s) must also last at least 12 months, and the impairment(s) must result in severe functional limitations. Children can be considered disabled from the day that they are born. 

SSA List of Impairments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of specific impairments and the requirements necessary to meet those conditions. These are often very particular, making them difficult to meet. However, there is another way that a child may qualify for SSD benefits. 

This other way for children to qualify for these benefits is for the SSA to evaluate the child’s six domains of functioning:

  1. Acquiring and using information;
  2. Attending and completing tasks;
  3. Interacting and relating to others;
  4. Moving around and manipulating objects;
  5. Self-care; and
  6. Health and physical well-being.  

This can be demonstrated through all medical records, school records, and statements from the child’s teachers. If the SSA deems that the child has two marked impairments or one extreme impairment, they may qualify. A marked limitation is one that seriously interferes with the child’s ability to function normally, whereas an extreme impairment is one that very seriously limits the child. 

Is Your Child in Active Treatment?

If you are filing for SSI for your child and claiming disability due to a mental issue or issues (e.g. Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, etc.) it is very important to show that the child is actively seeking treatment. This means that he or she is meeting with a psychologist or psychiatrist at least once per month. 

Remember that even if a child has an impairment it does not immediately qualify him or her to be deemed disabled for the purpose of SSI. The impairment must be extremely severe so as to interfere in numerous aspects of his or her life. That’s why it’s in your child’s best interest to meet and speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Disability Attorney, who can help to evaluate your specific case.  

The PA SSD Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

If you believe that your child struggles with an impairment so severely as to be considered disabled, it can be overwhelming and you may not know what to do. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that such impairments can have on your child’s ability to function normally and on your ability to pay for treatment. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!