Raising a child with disabilities can be very expensive for parents, who must worry about medical bills as well as lost wages if they stay home to care for the child. Social Security disability benefits are available to children with disabilities and an experienced disability lawyer can help you and your family understand your options.
Children may receive monthly benefit payments through the Social Security Administration's Supplemental Security Income program.
SSI is available to children under 18 who meet the SSA's definition of disabled and have limited income and resources available to them.
If you apply for SSI benefits for your child, you will have to provide very detailed information about your child's disability. You may need to submit supporting information from your child's doctors, therapists, teachers and other professionals. You will also need to report your income if your child resides with you.
It can take several months or longer for the New York Social Security agency to determine whether your child is eligible for SSI benefits, but in certain situations you can receive an expedited decision. This is possible when your child is suffering from a very serious condition such as cerebral palsy, blindness, or Down syndrome, among other things.
When your child turns 18, he or she will be subjected to different SSI requirements. One significant change is that your income and resources will no longer be considered when calculating your child's benefits; only your adult child's income and resources will count.
If your adult child was diagnosed with a disability before the age of 22, he or she may instead qualify for a child's benefit under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This is possible if:
- You or the child's other parent are receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
- One of the child's parents passed away after working long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.
Children's benefits are a very complicated area of Social Security disability law. An experienced lawyer can help you learn which program(s) your child is eligible for, as well as assist in the claims process.