Are disabled children covered by Social Security?

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Social Security Disability Benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, are programs designed to help New Yorkers. The New Yorkers who qualify for these benefits are unable to work due to a mental condition, medical disability, or illness. But, while many may know this information, what about their children?

Since a majority of children under 18 do not have significant income and have not paid into the SSDI program, they may be eligible for SSI, depending on a couple factors. First, the child must have a physical or mental condition that causes “marked and severe functional limitations.”

The disabling condition must also be expected to last at least a year or expected to end in death. The Social Security Administration will seek information, including daily activities and limitations. These include opinions from professionals in the medical field, as well as school documents to verify the disability.

In addition, the immediate family of the child must fall within a minimum financial threshold to qualify for benefits. The types of income include earned income, such as self-employment; unearned income, such as unemployment benefits, interest, and state disability payments; in-kind income, such as donations from food banks or shelters; and deemed income, which is income received from others in the family.

If you qualify, it is important to note that these benefits are not expected to fully cover a child’s expenses, like food, shelter, education or medical expenses, but are issued to help a family under financial duress. These benefits may be extended to an adult who was also disabled as a child under 18 who is now 22 years of age or older.

Understanding the criteria and the application process for Social Security Disability may seem intimidating. It may be worth consulting with a law professional for assistance.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children,” accessed on April 5, 2016

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