Your Disabled Child can Receive Supplemental Security Income Benefits from Social Security
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a U.S. Federal government that was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1974, was designed to provide cash benefits to:
- Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
- People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR); and,
- Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources;
This Supplemental Security Income was designed to help improve the quality of life of its recipients’ by helping provide for their basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Unlike the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the other federal program, which the SSA introduced in 1956 and which requires that disabled applicants should have worked long or recently enough and have earned the required number of credits through payment of the monthly Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, the SSI neither requires employment history nor credits earned. This is how it has been made possible to include disabled children, who have limited income and resources, in its list of possible beneficiaries. To determine whether a child is, indeed, qualified to receive SSI benefits, it may first be necessary to know what the Social Security Administration actually considers as disability and what, specifically, does it mean by limited income and resources. Disability, as defined by the SSA (for SSI purposes), is any physical or mental impairment, (including an emotional or learning problem), or a combination of conditions which:
- Results in severe functional limitations;
- Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; and,
- Can be expected to result in death.
Income and resources, on the other hand, refers to the income and resources of the family members with whom the child lives. The 2016 income limit set under the federal benefit rate (FBR) is $1,130 per month (this amount may change every year). Eligibility also requires that a child must not be working. Some examples of medical conditions that may qualify a child to receiving benefits include: HIV infection, total blindness, total deafness, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and severe intellectual disability (for children 7 years old or older) and those born with a birth weight that is below 2 pounds and 10 ounces.