Depression is a crippling illness. When it occurs in children, it can stunt cognitive, emotional, and social development. Children with depression tend to fall behind in school and have trouble connecting with their peers. For a parent, it can make the tough job of raising children even more difficult. It can also present a financial burden, as effectively treating depression usually requires therapy and psychiatric intervention.
If your child suffers from depression, you might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Your child’s condition has to meet certain requirements from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and your household also has to fall under specific income guidelines.
A skilled disability attorney from the Disability Advantage Group, can evaluate your case and give you an honest assessment of your chances of receiving benefits. If a chance exists that you qualify, our attorneys work to build the strongest case possible on your behalf. We consult with doctors, psychiatrists, school personnel, counselors, and others to gather the evidence we need to show the SSA that your child’s condition meets its guidelines.
Working with one of our attorneys gives you the best chance of approval from the SSA. The initial consultation is free. Call 865-566-0800 today for an appointment. Let us help you get SSI disability for your child’s depression.
How can I get SSI disability for my child’s depression?
The SSA recognizes depression as a qualifying medical condition, as long as your child meets strict criteria. We have to prove that your child’s condition goes beyond mild to moderate depression and has a significant impact on their performance in school and daily functioning.
First, we have to show that your child’s condition causes five or more of the following symptoms:
- Persistently depressed or irritable mood;
- Diminished interest in most or all activities, even those your child used to enjoy;
- Appetite disturbance and weight change;
- Sleeping too much or too little;
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation;
- Persistently low energy;
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating; and
- Suicidal thoughts.
We also have to demonstrate that your child has a marked limitation in two or an extreme limitation in one of the following areas:
- Understanding, remembering, and applying information;
- Interacting with others;
- Concentrating, persisting, and maintaining pace on tasks; and
- Adaptation and self-management.
If your child does not have a marked or extreme limitation in those areas, we can argue for benefits by showing two things:
- Your child has undergone significant medical intervention for depression for two consecutive years or longer; and
- Your child has little to no ability to adapt to changes in his or her environment or to meet demands that are not part of a normal daily routine.
What if my child has bipolar disorder?
If your child’s has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the SSA’s requirements to receive benefits are slightly different.
We must still show that the child has a limitation in one or more of the areas above or we must demonstrate that the child has undergone medical care and cannot respond to changes in their environment.
However, a child with bipolar disorder must meet different criteria. For bipolar disorder, your child must display three or more of the following symptoms:
- Rapid or frenzied speech;
- Quickly changing thoughts;
- An inflated self-esteem;
- Little need for sleep;
- An easily distracted personality;
- A tendency to engage in high-risk, possibly painful behaviors; and
- Psychomotor agitation.
Our attorneys can consult with your child’s psychiatrists to ensure we have all the necessary test results and documentation to show that the condition meets the SSA’s criteria.
What are the income requirements for the SSI program?
In addition to qualifying on the basis of your child’s condition, your household also has to meet certain income requirements for SSI eligibility. This is because the program is for low-income families that have members with disabilities. If your household income is too high, the SSA will not grant you benefits under this program, regardless of the severity of your child’s condition.
As of 2017, the maximum monthly income for a family is anywhere from $3,065 per month to $6,009 per month. Where the limit falls within that range depends on the number of adults and non-qualifying children, or children without disabilities, in your household. The more children you have, the more money you can make and still qualify for SSI.
The limits are lower for unearned income, including money that comes from another benefit program.
You may deduct qualifying household expenses when calculating your monthly income for SSI purposes. You can also exclude certain forms of income. Our attorneys can help you with this process so you can be sure you are taking advantage of every available deduction and exemption.
A lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group, can improve your chances of getting SSI disability.
The SSA is notoriously strict about its qualification guidelines for children with disabilities like depression. It is not uncommon for applicants to receive denials even when their child has a valid diagnosis and the condition indeed causes functional impairments.
To have the best chance of winning benefits, you need a skilled attorney with experience fighting for disability benefits who will put their resources to work for you. At the Disability Advantage Group, we specialize in disability claims and we have a long track record of successfully earning benefits for our clients. We handle all the details of your case from beginning to the end, fighting relentlessly for your benefits so that you can focus on the health of your child and your family.