It can be difficult to make ends meet when a family does not have the appropriate income to support its disabled child or children. Luckily, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) exists as a need-based program available to low-income families. Children with medical impairments who qualify as disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be eligible to receive a monthly SSI payment. Here are some basics of the program:
Q. Who is defined as a child for SSI purposes?
A. A person who is neither married nor head of household and is under 18, or is under age 22 and is a student regularly attending school.
Q. How does the SSI disability program work for a child?
A. A child must be either blind or disabled. He or she may be eligible for benefits beginning as early as the date of birth; there is no minimum age requirement. The child may be eligible to receive benefits until age 18. However, once the child turns 18, his or her impairments must be re-evaluated based on Social Security’s definition of disability for adults.
Q. Who is considered disabled under Social Security’s regulations for children?
A. If under 18, the child must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which results in marked or severe functional limitations. The impairments must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death. If the child is blind, he or she must meet the same definition of “blind” as applies for adults. There are no duration requirements for visual impairment.
Q. How much Social Security benefits can a child receive?
A. The Federal base rate for 2017 is $735/month; however, the child’s SSI payment amount will vary depending on the state of residence and whether the child has any countable income.
Q. Can a child qualify for Medicaid?
A. In most states, a child who receives SSI benefits can also get Medicaid to help pay medical bills.
You don't have to feel hopeless if you are struggling to support your family with a limited income. At Metzger Wickersham, we help families through the process of obtaining benefits for their disabled children. Contact our experienced SSI disability lawyers today to find out how we can assist you. We have offices located in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pottsville, Shippensburg, Wilkes-Barre and York, allowing us to conveniently serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.