Do you have a child under the age of 18 who is disabled? Then your child might qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI.
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income or SSI for children with disabilities is a monthly income provided by the state for qualified children,18 years or younger, who have a physical or mental condition (or a combination of the two); meets the Social Security’s definition of a disability for children; and who’s income and resources fall within eligibility limits.
How does my child qualify for SSI?
First, you will have to apply for SSI with your local Social Security office. When you apply, they will ask you for detailed information about your child’s disability and the factors that affects his or her ability to function in everyday activities. Forms will also be filled out by your child’s teachers, therapists, doctors, and other professionals who can give input on your child’s disability. Social Security will also ask for any other records related to your child’s condition that may aide in the decision making process.
What is the criteria for my child’s income and resources?
Social Security considers your child’s income and resources when they are making the decision for eligibility. If your child lives at home with you, they will consider a portion of the household income and other resources available to your child. This also applies if the child goes away to college but returns home on breaks. If your child’s household income is more than the allowance, they will deny SSI payments. In addition, if your child is working, they cannot earn more than $1,130 a month (this amount changes every year). Also, if your child is in a medical facility, SSI payments are limited to $30 a month.
What other criteria do they consider?
To qualify for SSI payments, your child must have been disabling, or expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months; or the condition must be expected to result in death. Social Security will also ask for records to prove your household income.
How much income will I receive?
Since every state is different, your local Social Security office would be able to tell you how much your state’s total payment will be.
How long does the process take?
After documentation is sent to Social Security, the State’s Disability Determination Services office will review your child’s information and request any additional documentation that they may need. In some cases, the state agency will ask you to take your child in for an additional medical examination or test (that they pay for) to make a determination.
Can I receive payments sooner?
Social Security will make immediate SSI payments, for up to six months, to your child while they review your case if they have:
- HIV infection
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Down syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Severe intellectual disability (child has to be 7 years old or older)
- Birth weight is below 2 pounds, 10 ounces
If you have a question about any other condition, you should contact your local Social Security office.
What happens when my child turns 18?
Criteria will change once your child becomes 18. Social Security will:
- count their income and resources, not your household anymore
- review their medical condition to see if there are any changes
- determine if they qualify for SSI payments even if they have been denied previously
What is the difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
SSI makes monthly payments for children with disabilities 18 years or younger. SSDI pays benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they turned 22 years old. To qualify for this program, one or both of the child’s parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or have died and have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security.
How is healthcare related?
Most children who receive SSI payments also qualify for Medicaid. In some states, Medicaid becomes automatic for children who receive SSI payments. Check with your state to determine if it is automatic, if you have to sign up for it, or if you need to receive SSI payments to qualify for Medicaid.
Does the state review the status of my child’s medical condition?
Yes. It is important to remember that the law requires the state to review your child’s medical condition at least every 3 years for children under the age of 18 whose condition is expected to improve and for babies who receive SSI payments for a low birth weight. So make sure you keep all documentation.
Do you have more questions?
Contact your local Social Security office or visit www.socialsecurity.gov. 1 (800) 772-1213