If you are wondering whether your child might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can continue reading to learn the basic qualifications. This can be a complicated process and working with a Social Security attorney can help simplify it for you. If you have additional questions not answered in this article, please contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 for help.
How the SSA defines a “child”
When it comes to benefits for children, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a person a child if they are not married or head of a household, and are either under 18 or under 22 and a student who is regularly attending school.
Eligibility for SSI benefits for children
In order to qualify for benefits, a child must be blind or disabled. While there are maximum ages at which a child ages out, as described above, there is no minimum age – a child can qualify as early as the day they were born.
Moving from childhood disability to adult disability
When a child turns 18 (or 22 if they are in school), they lose their eligibility for childhood disability but might then qualify for adult disability. They will have to apply for adult SSDI and the SSA will evaluate the person’s impairment. If it meets the disability requirements for adults, then they are eligible for ongoing benefits.
Likewise, if a child qualifies for SSI for children due to a visual impairment, they can be eligible for adult SSI benefits if their impairment meets the definition of blindness for adults.
Not all conditions count as disabilities
In order to qualify for SSI for children, the child must be blind and/or have a physical or mental impairment that results in marked or severe functional limitation. That impairment must either have already lasted for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to result in at least 12 months or in death.
To qualify due to visual impairment, the child must meet the same requirements set out for blind adults. This means they have a central visual acuity for distance of 20/200 or less in their better eye with use of a correcting lens, or they have a visual field limitation in their better eye, significant enough that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.
A parent’s income affects a child’s ability to collect SSI
When a child otherwise qualifies for SSI for children, the SSA might consider a portion of the income and resources of the child’s parents, assuming those resources and income are available to the child. In instances in which the child lives with a parent and a stepparent, then the stepparent’s income could be taken into account as well. Taking this income into account is known as “deeming.”
The SSA makes deductions from deemed income and once those deductions are subtracted, the remaining amount is used to determine if the child meets income and resource requirements to receive SSI on a monthly basis.
Do you have additional questions?
This blog is meant to outline the very basic factors surrounding SSI for children. If you have questions or require legal help, contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542.