Typically we think of the benefits provided through the Social Security Administration as those for older and/or retired adults (Social Security benefits) and those for adults who have had to stop working because they have become disabled (Social Security Disability, also known as SSDI). In these cases, recipients of the benefits have paid into the system through paying FICA taxes, essentially contributing to their own government insurance. There is, however, a benefit for disabled adults who have limited resources and income as well as for disabled children; this benefit is known as Supplemental Security Income or SSI. Despite the fact that SSI payments are disbursed by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded by the U.S. Treasury General Funds, meaning by income taxes of the general population. In other words, all of us pay into a program to support both adults and children with limited resources who are disabled, blind, or over the age of 65.
Families with a disabled child, or even children, that have limited resources, should be aware of additional programs available to assist them. Additionally, Medicaid is the form of insurance that SSI recipients are eligible to receive, and unlike SSDI, there is generally no waiting period for Medicaid eligibility once approved for SSI. You can apply for these benefits at your local Social Security Administration office, but if you want to avoid the hassle and headache in dealing with the disability process on your own, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in SSI with the skill and experience to help you succeed at every step of the way. At Disability Law Group, serving Troy and its surrounding area, our team of disability attorneys is well aware of the difficulties inherent in filing and appealing claims for SSI. We know how to overcome the various obstacles in your way, placing you in the best position to win the benefits you deserve.
Which children are eligible for SSI benefits?
A child with a severe birth injury, such as blindness, or one who develops a severe impairment(s) before the age of 18, is entitled to receive SSI benefits. In such cases, however, SSA must evaluate the applicant’s resources (and, in the case, if a child, family resources are also taken into consideration), to make certain there is not too much household income or assets for the individual to qualify. However, there are additional factors outlined below that SSA must weigh out to help offset the individual’s resources in order to allow for potential eligibility.
Commonly, a child who is eligible for SSI is also eligible for Medicaid. Although it may take months or longer to process a claim, the help of a skilled disability attorney can be invaluable by ensuring your SSI claim is being properly and efficiently processed. Our attorneys work diligently and swiftly through every step so that our clients receive every penny of the benefits they are owed as quickly as possible.
Compassionate Allowances (CAL): a Method of Determining SSI eligibility
Social Security’s CAL standards are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. The SSA standards are based on information received from medical and scientific experts, research reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and past public hearings on related subjects. When a child suffers from one of the CAL conditions — particular cancers, brain disorders and rare childhood disorders — the eligibility process often moves more rapidly.
Family Income Counted in Deeming Process
Social Security counts only part of the income of a disabled child’s parents when determining SSI eligibility. However, it also counts any other income sources available to the child in making its determination. Income sources included in determining a disabled child’s eligibility and payment amounts according to the deeming process include:
- Parents’ earned income and resources
- Parent’s unearned income (from investments or unemployment benefits)
- Stepparents’ earned and unearned income and resources (if child lives with stepparent)
The following, however, do not count in the deeming process since they are all based on the family’s low income to begin with:
- Welfare or VA pensions
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a federal program
- Family Independence Program ( FIP) a Michigan State program
- Foster care payments
- Food stamps
- Disaster assistance
- Tax refunds on real property, and
- Homegrown produce for personal consumption.
Social Security also makes adjustments for the real expenses of the family, known as “accomodations” according to the number of parents and children in the family and the number of them who are disabled.
When Circumstances Change
The Social Security Administration should be notified about any significant changes in the family’s members income and their conditions, in order to bring their SSI benefits for any disabled children current. Such notifications should be provided when:
- A disabled child turns 18 years of age
- A disabled child marries
- A disabled child moves out of the parents’ home
- A disabled parent becomes no longer eligible for payments
- A parent becomes disabled and entitled to benefits
- A parent becomes unemployed
- A disabled child moves into a treatment facility
- The child becomes emancipated (no longer legally under parental control)
It should be noted that deeming arrangements remain intact when the parent and child live separately for a relatively short time, such as a few months. Another interesting and important fact relating to Supplemental Security Income benefits is that children living with a parent in the military service overseas, though still eligible to receive SSI benefits, are no longer eligible for Medicaid.
Call Disability Law Group to Help Your Child Receive the SSI Benefits He or She Deserves
It is hard enough to be living on a low income and, add to that, the required expenses that come along with caring for a disabled child. Fortunately, this is not a battle you have to fight alone. Hiring a knowledgeable and compassionate disability law attorney to help you support and sustain your family can be the best decision you make. At Disability Law Group, we will fight hard and long to protect you and your loved ones and to win you the benefits you need. You are our top priority and you will not have to pay us a cent until we win your case. Contact us today for your free consultation.