When Your Child Is Disabled

Law Blog

Many people associate Social Security disability with adults who can no longer work at their jobs, but one form of this government assistance is also available for younger people. Children under the age of 18 who qualify with a disability are entitled to receive monthly benefits payments. Unlike the form of Social Security that helps workers, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is aimed at those who have not worked, but who can qualify in other ways. Read on to learn more about this valuable form of financial coverage for your disabled child.

Qualifying Financially

The first step of SSI qualifications is an evaluation of income. Children don't usually have much income, of course, so the income of the parent or guardian is checked instead. You should understand that this form of benefit is aimed at those who don't have much income and that doesn't have a lot of assets, like money in the bank. You can only have so much income, and the amount varies depending on what state you live in when you apply. The income level should be at or near the poverty level to qualify.


Additionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) places limits on how much property your family can own and still get benefits. In most cases, your home and vehicles are not counted toward that property limit, but things like bank accounts, retirement accounts, second or vacation homes and more are counted.

Understanding "Deeming"

The SSA uses the term deeming when evaluating income. In other words, they "deem" certain amounts of the family's income as being available to use to care for that child. This income can come from a job, from other forms of government assistance or from any other funds are available. The number of people in the household is also taken into consideration, as well as the number of adults in the home who earn income. Some funds are exempt from deeming, which means that they are not counted as being available, such as:

  • Foster care income
  • TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
  • Veteran's pensions
  • SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Monthly Changes

You should understand that the income amounts for the family must be reported every month and that any changes in income or in the residency of the disabled child could affect the monthly benefit payment amount.

If your child moves out to live with another relative, you may lose the benefit amount. If the child is only away from the home temporarily, and the absence is reported to the SSA, the benefit amount may not be affected. For example, boarding school and visits to grandma during school vacations should not affect the amount of the benefit.

You may have been turned down for SSI for your child. If so, speak to social security disability attorneys right away for help with your appeal.


27 September 2017