Guide to Supplemental Security Income Ssi for your Special needs Child

Children who have special needs for their development or care may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security office. There are certain steps necessary for you to take to apply for SSI and in the determination of your child’s needs by Disability Determination Services.

If your child, 18 years and younger, is suffering from a debilitating disease, applying for SSI may assist you and them in covering some of their income needs. SSI is simply this: Payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, blind or disabled. If your child falls under the parameters of the Social Security’s definition of disabled, he/she may qualify for these monthly payments.

Step One: Determining Eligibility

When determining eligibility, where a child lives is taken into consideration and who their primary care giver is. For example, if you are the person caring for the child, your resources will be considered and will be based on the amount allowed by Social Security. If, however, your child spends time in a medical facility, the payment is limited to $30 monthly, when the facility is covered by insurance.

Step Two: Requirements for Consideration

Your child’s condition will have to have been deemed “marked and severe functional limitations” for at least 12 months for before a determination of disability is granted. Your child will also have not worked and earned more than $940 a month (changes yearly), have a physical or mental condition or a combination of the two, and have serious limitations on the child’s activities and expected to last at least 12 months or expected to result in death.

Step Three: Providing Proof

Proving your child’s disability is up to you. You must provide information about all doctors, teachers, therapists and other professional who can provide knowledge of your child’s medical condition and how it affects their ability to function on a daily basis. You will give a detailed statement on what you have witnessed and give permission for others to also provide this information. Any of these supporting documentations will be accepted at the time of application; but can also be requisitioned by Social Security with a release of information.

If the Disability Determining Board cannot make a determination based on records they have obtained, a medical exam or tests may be necessary and paid for by them.

Step Four: Wait, wait, wait

It can take up to five months to determine disability. However, certain medical conditions are so limiting that immediate assistance is granted for up to six months while the determination is being made.

Step Five: SSI Disability Reviews

Once a disability is determined, a review of the child’s medical condition will take place from time to time. These are usually given every 3 years or sooner if a disability is expected to improve over time. These reviews are not limited to those who are expected to improve; but all persons in receipt of SSI.

When your child turns 18 years of age, another review will be taken at that time to determine if they are eligible for SSID and reevaluated based on their current limitations and if SSI should continue on. It is also a time when your adult child, who was ineligible based on your income, could become eligible for benefits under the adult criteria.

For more information, please refer to your local Social Security Office; their website: or calling 1-800-772-1213.