Under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, you may apply for benefits for a minor child who suffers from a severe physical or mental health impairment. First, your child must meet the definition of disabled under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines. Qualifying impairments include:

  • Loss of hearing or speech
  • Asthma, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory impairments
  • Behavioral disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Autism
  • Growth impairment
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Immune system disorders
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Cancer

In order to qualify for disability benefits, the child’s condition must have lasted at least 12 months, be expected to last for 12 months or be expected to result in death.

Income requirements apply

For a child to be eligible for SSI benefits, his or her parents’ income must fall below a certain threshold. The income requirement is based on a formula that takes into account factors such as the parents’ gross income, child support arrangements and the number of other children in the family. If you are uncertain of whether or not your child qualifies for benefits, consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling SSI claims and appeals.

How does this disability affect your child?

In evaluating SSI claims for children, the SSA seeks to determine how the child functions in key areas such as acquiring information, interacting with others, self care and general health and well being. For parents, it is important to take note of these functional areas and how your child measures against them. The more information you have about your child’s disability and how it affects their ability to function, the better chance you have of filing a successful claim for benefits.