SSI for Children
SSI is the only type of benefit through Social Security in which a minor child (child under the age of 18) could qualify to receive benefits. To receive these payments, the child must meet both the medical and non-medical rules to qualify. The financial barriers are the same, both for minor children and adults who are applying for SSI. Social Security will consider the income of the entire household, including that of family members living within the home and including any income Social Security may already be paying into the household. Therefore, a child can often be found medically disabled, but not eligible to receive payments due to the income of the household.
The medical requirements for a child to receive SSI can be quite different than the medical requirements for an adult applying for SSI. For starters, children can be found disabled based on impairments in six (6) different domains. A child must have a marked impairment in at least two (2) domains or an extreme impairment in one (1) area. Marked impairment means more than the impairment(s) interferes seriously with the child’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete domain-related activities. Day-to-day functioning may be seriously limited when the child’s impairment(s) only one activity or when the interactive and cumulative effects of the child’s impairment(s) limit several activities. Extreme impairment means that the impairment(s) interferes very seriously with the child’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete domain-related activities. Day-to-day functioning may be very seriously limited when the child’s impairment(s) limit several activities. Extreme describes the worst limitations, but does not necessarily mean a total lack or loss of ability to function. The six (6) domains are as follows:
- Acquiring and Using Information
- Attending and Completing Tasks
- Interacting and Relating with Others
- Moving About and Manipulating Objects
- Caring for Yourself
- Overall Health and Physical Well-being
The domains are a subjective scale. The basis for the impairment rating for each domain may differ, depending on who evaluated the child in these areas. Therefore, the attorneys at the Sellers Law Firm contact each child's teacher, daycare worker, physician, and/or other unbiased caretakers to complete a domain questionnaire. Typically a child spends more time with his or her teacher than he or she does with a parent. A parent is also considered biased for the sake of a child's SSI claim. Therefore, soliciting opinions from unbiased sources is an invaluable resource for a child's case.
Now that you have figured out if you should apply for Social Security benefits, you may be asking yourself how do you apply for these benefits. Luckily the process is easy.