Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for individuals who are unable to earn an income due to a disability. SSI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A child may qualify for childhood SSI under certain circumstances. To be eligible for SSI a child must:

    • Not be married;
    • Be under the age of 18 years old or under 22 years of age if a student; and,
    • Either blind or disabled.

However, deeming a child eligible to receive SSI is not as simple as meeting the above three criteria. Income is a factor in determining eligibility for SSI.

Deeming for Childhood SSI Benefits

The child’s parents’ income may be used when computing household income for SSI purposes. The SSA looks at the parents’ income and resources and may use a portion of this amount as if it was the child’s income and resources. The SSA does not count all types of income for deeming purposes. The SSI has a Deeming Edibility Chart it uses for children. However, “deeming” and/or the use of the deeming chart does not apply in all cases; therefore, an experienced Boca Raton Social Security disability attorney can be of great assistance when applying for SSI for a child. For example, the deeming chart does not apply when:

    • The parents work and receive unearned income (i.e. Social Security benefits, interest income, pensions, etc.).
    • The parents receive public income assistance such as TANF or needs-based pension from the VA.
    • The child receives his or her own income.
    • The parent pays court-ordered child support payments.
    • You have more than one disabled child who is applying for SSI benefits.

There may also be other circumstances that make cause the deeming chart not to be used when determining eligibility for childhood SSI benefits.

Determining Disability for Childhood SSI Benefits

In addition to the income requirement, your child must also be blind or meet the requirements for being disabled. To meet the definition of “disabled” your child must have a mental or physical condition that:

    • Results in a “marked and severe functional limitations” (serious limitations to child’s activities; and,
    • The condition is expected to last 12 months, has already last 12 months or will result in death.

The SSA will review all of your child’s medical information and school records (if applicable) when determining if your child meets the criteria of being disabled. It may also request an independent medical examination as part of its investigation. The SSA will pay for the independent medical examination. The SSA uses a “Blue Book” as a guide when reviewing physical and mental conditions. The book lists a variety of conditions and the requirements for each condition to meet SSA’s definition of “disabled.” The book includes a section for childhood conditions.

Do I Need an Attorney to Apply for SSI for my Child?

You are not required to hire an attorney when you apply for SSI for your child; however, it may be beneficial due to the complex nature of some SSI applications. Having an experienced SSI attorney can help avoid delays and some of the mistakes that may result in a denial of claim. Furthermore, if your SSI claim is denied, you must act quickly if you want to appeal the SSI denial.

Call The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. at 1-800-333-3903 to schedule a free consultation.