If you have a child under age 18 who has a physical or mental disability, he or she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To be eligible to apply, your child or you must have limited income and assets.
After you submit all the required documentation, the Social Security Administration will determine if your child meets its definition of disability. Therefore, when filling out the application forms and preparing for the disability interview, it's essential to follow the application steps carefully in addition to providing detailed and complete information about your child and his or her disability.
Basic Application Steps
Verify the Income Limits
Before initiating the application process to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits for your child, contact your local Social Security office to find out if your income and any income your child may have falls within the limits Social Security allows. If your countable income does not exceed the allowable limit, the next step is to complete the Child Disability Report, which Social Security makes available online.
Schedule a Disability Interview
You must then contact your local Social Security office to schedule an appointment for a disability interview to complete your child's application. An interviewer will take the information by phone, or you can visit the office in person.
Provide Adequate and Detailed Information
Be thorough in the information you provide about your child's disabling illness or condition and how it affects your child performing age-appropriate daily activities, including school. Without adequate information to determine if your child is disabled, Social Security will deny the claim. To avoid problems, you can have a qualified person such as an attorney help you complete and file the necessary forms and supporting documentation.
Child Disability Report
When applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits for your disabled child, you must go online and complete the Child Disability Report. The Social Security Administration needs the information the form requests in order to help determine if your child is disabled and entitled to benefits.
The report asks for information relating to your child's illness or condition and how it affects or limits his or her ability to function. On it, you will state what kinds of activities your child needs help to complete.
After providing ALL the information the report requests, you must sign a form authorizing your child's doctors to release medical information pertaining to your child's disability. In cases for which you don't know the answers or the questions do not apply to your child, write "don't know" or "does not apply" in the blanks. Do not leave any questions unanswered.
Along with a printout of the completed Child Disability Report, additional documents you should mail to your local Social Security office or take with you to the in-person interview include copies of your child's medical records, copies of your child's prescriptions or the medication containers, a copy of your child's Individualized Education Program plan if he or she has one, and a copy of your child's Individual Family Service Plan if he or she isn't yet 3 years old but has developmental delays that require early intervention services.
You also will need to provide the following information:
Original or certified copy of your child's birth certificate
Names and social security numbers for all household members
Proof of your and your child's income and assets
Contact information for any schools your child has attended in the last 12 months
Names and contact information for teachers, counselors, psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and behavioral therapists who have treated your child
The more evidence you provide supporting the claim, the better your child's chances of being approved for disability benefits. Speak with a Social Security attorney, like one from Gieg Law Offices, as soon as possible for further help.