Child Disability Lawyers
Children under the age of 18 may qualify for social security benefits if they meet certain conditions and your household income falls within the limits created by the SSA. Disabled young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 may qualify if they are enrolled at least half-time in a post-secondary education program. The SSA doesn't impose a minimum age limit to determine eligibility for social security disability insurance.
Parenting a disabled child can present tremendous challenges. Not only do disabled children require special medical care and education, but the cost of providing for them can be overwhelming. It’s a sad reality that the things some children with a disability require far outweigh the financial resources of their parents. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes this fact, which is why it created Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children with disabilities.
While SSI is a legitimate option for parents of disabled children, the fact that it’s available doesn’t mean that the SSA will approve your request. As experienced social security lawyers for children, the team at Terry Katz & Associates is available now to help you through the initial application process or the appeal process if you have received a denial. Our social security disability lawyers have worked with thousands of clients to help them acquire SSI benefits. Regardless of where you’re at in the process, we invite you to contact our New York City law firm at 888-488-7459 to schedule a free consultation.
Financial Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits for Children
Children under the age of 18 may qualify for social security benefits if they meet certain conditions and your household income falls within the limits created by the SSA. Disabled young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 may qualify if they are enrolled at least half-time in a post-secondary education program. The SSA doesn’t impose a minimum age limit to determine eligibility for social security disability insurance. Parents can apply as soon as their baby is born if he or she has a confirmed disability listed in the SSA’s guidelines.
The child’s disability must be expected to continue for at least 12 months or be a permanent diagnosis. Additionally, the SSA reviews all disability claims for children once they turn 18. The organization will review your son or daughter’s medical condition using its own guidelines defining disability or blindness. Your young adult child may then transition to the adult program or continue to receive benefits until age 22 if enrolled in an educational program beyond high school.
The SSA uses a formula called the Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children to help determine eligibility for SSDI benefits. The chart is a financial model based on whether one or two parents reside in the household and whether the parents have other children not eligible for benefits. A couple with two children, one who has down syndrome and the other being neurotypical, would find their monthly income limits on the Deeming chart by following the number of ineligible children on the left and one or two-parent household on the right.
The chart further breaks down whether the monthly income is earned or unearned. In the example just given, this family could qualify with a monthly income of $4,443 or less in earned income or $2,390 per month in unearned income. This includes any income earned by your son or daughter. The personal income limit for disabled children is $1,220 per month. That increases to $2,040 per month for older teenagers and young adults in school if they have a certified visual impairment.
Qualifying Medical Conditions for Children to Receive SSDI Benefits
It normally takes the SSA three to five months to process a social security disability claim. However, the agency recognizes that some children have such severe disabilities that their family members can’t wait that long to start receiving SSDI benefits. Your child may be eligible for immediate payments lasting up to six months if you have confirmed medical evidence that he or she has one of the following conditions:
- Cerebral palsy
- Down syndrome
- HIV infection
- Low birth weight of 2 pounds, 10 ounces or less
- Muscular dystrophy
- Severe intellectual disorder for children ages 7 and older
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
Please note that this list only includes medical conditions that might warrant immediate payments. It is not all-inclusive. Our child disability lawyers will help you determine eligibility if you do not see your child’s condition listed here. If your child’s doctor feels that his or her physical or mental condition will improve over time, the SSA will re-evaluate the claim along with medical records every three years. The organization may also re-evaluate the claim even if your child’s disability is not expected to improve. You will be required to provide medical evidence for the re-evaluation in either situation.
What Does the Social Security Administration Consider When Approving or Denying Benefits?
A representative from the SSA will evaluate your child’s disability to determine the degree to which it affects him or her. The agent will also interview your child’s medical team, teachers, and anyone else who regularly provides your son or daughter with care. If your child doesn’t meet the initial qualifications based on disability, the SSA will consider six domains of functioning. These are to determine how your child’s disability affects specific life functions. Your child could still qualify for SSDI benefits if the evaluator determines that he or she shows impairment in at least one of the following:
- Acquiring information and using it appropriately
- Attending to and completing tasks
- Caring for his or her own personal needs
- Interacting with and relating to others
- Moving around and physically manipulating objects
- Overall health and well-being, including in areas not related to the disability
The evaluator will also consider medical information and responses from people interviewed when deciding if your child’s medical condition is a significant disrupting factor. He or she will also compare your child’s current abilities to same-age peers without a disability when making this determination.
What to Expect After Completing an Application for Social Security Disability Benefits for Children
After completing the application and providing all requested medical documentation, your claim goes to a Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in the New York City area. This agency verifies all medical documentation that you included with your child’s application. Experienced medical personnel who work with the local SSA office will also review the information you submitted. You should receive information regarding whether your claim was denied or approved within three months unless your child has a disability eligible for immediate consideration.
Process Involved with Appealing a Denial from the SSA
It can be extremely frustrating to go to all the trouble of filling out an application and locating the required medical documentation only to have the SSA deny your request for social security disability benefits for your child. It has been the experience of our SSI lawyers that the SSA denies these claims for the following reasons:
- Your child and family members do not meet the income guidelines for program eligibility.
- The SSA did not receive your child’s medical records in enough time to make a determination.
- The medical records you provided do not support the extent of disability that you see every day or describe in enough detail how it affects his or her physical and mental functioning.
- Your child has received no medical treatment or little medical treatment for the condition you’re claiming as a disability.
Regardless of the reason for the denial, it’s in your best interest to retain the services of our social security disability attorney before formally filing your appeal. The process can be long and complicated, even more so than the initial application. These are the typical steps involved with appealing a denial of SSD benefits by the SSA:
- Request a reconsideration of your claim from the local DDS office. The person who reviews the appeal will not be the same person who denied the original application.
- Schedule a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge if you still received a denial after completing the previous step. The hearing gives you the chance to present new evidence such as medical reports or teacher notes that may not have been a part of your initial application.
- Apply to the Appeals Court if the Administrative Law Judge made a technical or legal error before presenting his or her decision. If the judge in the Appeals Court agrees that the Administrative Law Judge made a critical error, he or she will review the case or send it to another Administrative Law Judge.
- File a lawsuit in federal court. If all previous options fail, your final option is to sue the SSA in federal court. The court system rather than the SSA will handle the case from this point forward.
Don’t Delay in Scheduling Your Free Consultation with Terry Katz & Associates
Our child disability lawyers are available now to assist you with applying for SSDI benefits for the first time or initiating any of the four levels of appeal. You will be well represented by our SSI lawyers who have years of experience and a firm grasp of social security disability law. We know you love your child and want to provide for him or her to the best of your ability. We also understand the needs can be extraordinary and you need help yourself. Please call us today at 888-488-7459 to reserve your time to discuss your claim in greater detail.