Most adults can be assured that there are government benefit programs to provide much-needed support. They just have to qualify for them. But it’s a little different for people who want to get SSI for a child with disabilities. Can adults and children both get benefits? How will benefits be calculated? This article takes a look at this situation and offers answers to questions about children and SSI.
The Social Security Administration (Social Security) manages the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, as well as several others. SSI pays out monthly cash benefits to qualified recipients. Someone trying to get benefits for a child with a disability must first prove that the disability exists.
In fact, Social Security uses a strict definition when determining disability:
“The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.”
Social Security might award SSI for a child who has conditions like the following:
- Low birth weight
- Severe intellectual disability in a child aged 4 or older
- Cerebral palsy
- Total blindness or deafness
- Muscular dystrophy
A child that satisfies the disability definition might qualify for SSI. However, they must meet other criteria also.
SSI Eligibility for a Child
While assessing a claim for benefits, Social Security will also look at:
- the child’s income and resources,
- income and resources for other family members living with the child.
Income and resource requirements vary. In fact, these two requirements can be difficult to understand.
SSI Income and Resource Requirements
Social Security looks at the child’s income first. A child who is blind must not earn more than $2,190 per month. Children with other disabilities are limited to $1,310 per month, using 2021 figures.
But to award SSI for a child, Social Security also looks at the household income. If everyone’s income exceeds the SSI income requirement, Social Security will deny the request for benefits.
The resource requirement at this time is $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. However, it’s important to remember that Social Security does not count every resource against this limit. For example, the following items are just a few that are not counted:
- The home you live in and the land it is on;
- Property you or your spouse use in a business;
- Household goods;
- One vehicle as long as someone in the household is using it; and
- Up to $100,000 in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account.
This list is not comprehensive, and this article is not legal advice. The best way to find out if you can get SSI for a child is to discuss your situation with an experienced Social Security lawyer.
Sometimes You Can Get SSI for a Child with Disability
Applying for SSI benefits can be challenging, but we can help.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients resolve SSI issues. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.