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SSI- Social Security Income

Is My Child Eligible for SSI?

Has this Happened to you?

This information will help you decide if your child, or a child you know, might be eligible for SSI or Social Security.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for children with disabilities:
  • SSI makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, blind or disabled.
  • Your child younger than age 18 can qualify if he or she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.
  • The amount of the SSI payment is different from one state to another because some states add to the SSI payment.
  • Your local Social Security office can tell you more about your state’s total SSI payment.
SSI rules about income and resources:
  • Your child’s income and resources as well as the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household are considered.
  • These rules apply if your child lives at home.
  • They also apply if he or she is away at school but returns home from time to time.
  • If your child’s income and resources, or the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household, are more than the amount allowed, we will deny the child’s application for SSI payments.
  • The monthly SSI payment is limited to $30 when a child is in a medical facility where health insurance pays for his or her care.
SSI rules about disability: Your child must meet all of the following requirements to be considered disabled and therefore eligible for SSI:
  • The child must not be working and earning more than $1,000 a month in 2011. (This earnings amount usually changes every year).  If he or she is working and earning that much money, we will find that your child is not disabled.
  • The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, that results in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit your child’s activities.
  • The child’s condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months; or must be expected to result in death.
Providing information about your child’s condition:
  • When you apply for benefits for your child, you will be asked for detailed information about the child’s medical condition and how it affects his or her ability to function on a daily basis.
  • You will be asked to give permission for the doctors, teachers, therapists and other professionals who have information about your child’s condition to send it in for consideration.
  • If you have any of your child’s medical or school records, have them available. This will help speed up the decision on your application.
What happens next?
  • All of the information you give is sent to the Disability Determination Services in your state.
  • Doctors and other trained staff in that state agency will review the information.  They may request your child’s medical and school records and any other information needed to decide if your child is disabled.
  • If the state agency cannot make a disability decision using only the medical information, school records and other facts they have, they may ask you to take your child for a medical examination or test.  You will not have to pay for the exam or test.
Immediate SSI payments can be made to your child:
  • It can take three to five months for the state agency to decide if your child is disabled.
  • However, for some medical conditions, SSI payments are made right away and for up to six months while the state agency decides if your child is disabled.
  • Following are some conditions that may qualify:
  • HIV infection
  • Total blindness
  • Total deafness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Severe mental retardation (child age 7 or older)
  • Birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces.
  • If your child has one of the qualifying conditions, he or she will get SSI payments right away.
SSI disability reviews
This review must be done:
  • At least every three years for children younger than age 18 whose conditions are expected to improve, and
  • By age 1 for babies who are getting SSI payments because of their low birth weight, unless it is determined their medical condition is not expected to improve by their first birthday.  If this is the case, a review will be scheduled for a later date.
  • A disability review may be done even if your child’s condition is not expected to improve.  You must present evidence that your child is and has been receiving treatment that is considered medically necessary for your child’s medical condition.
What happens when your child turns age 18?
  • When your child becomes an adult at age 18, different medical and nonmedical rules are used to decide if an adult can get SSI disability payments.
  • The income and resources of family members are no longer considered when deciding whether an adult meets the financial limits for SSI.
  • Only the adult’s income and resources are considered.
  • The disability rules for adults are used when deciding whether an adult is disabled.
  • If your child is already receiving SSI payments, the child’s medical condition will be reviewed when he or she turns age 18.
  • If your child was not eligible for SSI before his or her 18th birthday because you and your spouse had too much income or resources, he or she may become eligible for SSI at age 18.
All information from: www.ssa.org/
Listing of Impairments – Childhood Listings (Part B) For SSI
Medical criteria for the evaluation of impairments of children under age 18
  • Growth Impairment – covers children who don’t grow properly.  Impairment of growth may be disabling in itself or it may be an indicator of the severity of the impairment due to a specific disease process.
  • Musculoskeletal – covers back, joint and limb problems. Impairments may result from infectious, inflammatory, or degenerative processes, traumatic or developmental events, or neoplastic, vascular, or toxic/metabolic diseases.
  • Special Senses and Speech – covers visual, hearing and speech/language disorders.  This is the area that may qualify your child with cleft lip and or/palate.
  • Respiratory System – Impairments resulting from respiratory disorders based on symptoms, physical signs, laboratory test abnormalities, and response to a regimen of treatment prescribed by a treating source.
  • Cardiovascular System – covers heart problems and blood pressure problems.  Any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system (that is, arteries, veins, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage). The disorder can be congenital or acquired.
  • Digestive System – covers problems digesting food, liver disease and bowel disease.
  • Genitourinary System – covers kidney or liver disease
  • Hemic & lympatic Disorders – covers anemia’s (including sickle cell), blood clotting diseases and leukemia
  • Skin Disorders – Includes Ichthyosis, bullous diseases, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns.
  • Endocrine System – includes thyroid, pituitary and other glandular diseases
  • Impairments That Affect Multiple Body Systems – includes Down’s Syndrome and other genetic diseases, miscellaneous problems that cause problems functioning
  • Neurological – includes epilepsy, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, seizure disorders, other neurological conditions
  • Mental disorders – includes a range of mental health problems
  • Malignant Neoplastic Diseases – covers cancer and tumors
  • Immune System Disorders – covers lupus, HIV/AIDS, connective tissue disorders and other immune system problems
For more detailed information on specific impairments go to:
Click on your STATE to get Started today!
How do I apply for Benefits for my child? Click on your State listed below!
NevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew Mexico
New YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhio
OklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexas
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Site last updated December 5, 2016 @ 3:07 pm; This content last updated July 11, 2011 @ 6:00 pm