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Getting access to SSI for your child requires help from doctors

If you are a parent of a child who has a mental or physical disability, you probably have a desire to apply for Supplemental Security Income. These cash benefits, which are awarded by the Social Security Administration, provide financial assistance to families who may be struggling to cover the cost of caring for a child with special needs. But as many of our Newark readers know, financial need is only part of the SSI application process.

Accurate and extensive medical information is just as important when it comes to applying for SSI. Without a proper diagnosis and a medical history to back up a claim for benefits, SSA may deny a child's claim, leaving them without access to these cash benefits. If a claim is denied, an appeal may be necessary. This time, getting help from an attorney may be necessary in order to prove a need for federal assistance.

As you can imagine, doctors can diminish the need for an appeal by completing a child's medical records to their fullest extent. This means including information that not only documents the duration of the child's condition but the extent to which it is negatively impacting the child's life. Because SSA generally weighs medical information more heavily than other information, the presence of solid medical records is oftentimes key to a successful claim.

Even if doctors actively try to meet SSA standards for good medical evidence, there is no guarantee a claim will be approved the first time around. An appeal may be necessary in the long run, typically requiring the help of a skilled lawyer familiar with the Social Security system.

Source: The Social Security Administration, "A Guide For Physicians And Other Health Care Professionals," Accessed Sept. 30, 2015

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