A child can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she is age 18 or younger or under the age of 22 and is a student attending school. To be eligible for SSI Disability, the child must be either blind or disabled. A child can be disabled as early as the date of birth. To be disabled, a child must have a severe physical or mental impairment or a combination of both. The impairment(s) must last 12 months. The impairment or combination of impairments must result in marked and severe functional limitations.
A child can qualify if they meet a specific listing regarding a physical or mental impairment. Social Security has a list of said impairments and they are very specific and sometimes very difficult to meet.
Another way a child can qualify for disability benefits is when Social Security will evaluate the child’s six (6) domains of functioning. A child must have “marked” impairments in two (2) of the six (6) functional categories or one (1) “extreme” impairment. A “marked” limitation is one that seriously interferes with the child’s ability to function. An “extreme” impairment is one that very seriously limits the child.
The six (6) domains of functioning Social Security will look at are as follows:
- Acquiring and using information;
- Attending and completing tasks;
- Interacting and relating to others;
- Moving around and manipulating objects;
- Self-care; and
- Health and physical well-being.
If applying for a child, it is important to have the following evidence:
- All school records;
- Statements from the child’s teachers; and
- All medical records.
It’s always helpful to have a narrative from the child’s treating doctors.
If a child is claiming disability due to mental issues, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Anger Explosive Behavior Issues, it is extremely important that the child is in active treatment. The child should be seen by psychologists/psychiatrists on at least a monthly basis, if not more.
It is important to remember that just because a child has a physical or mental impairment, it may not be to the level of limitation for that child to be deemed disabled. The impairment must be so severe that it affects the child in many aspects of his or her life.
It is not easy to qualify a child for disability. It is in your child’s best interest to speak to an experienced attorney to evaluate the potential case. Contact Metzger Wickersham for a free consultation where our attorneys are equipped to help you navigate the legal issues with filing for Social Security benefits.