Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. It has distinct physical characteristics. People with Down syndrome tend to have round faces, flat noses, short arms and legs, and poor muscle tone. The condition can also cause intellectual disability.
Children with Down syndrome are fun, unique, and loving, but caring for them can cause extreme financial strain. They often require extensive medical treatments and need extra help in school. They may never become fully self-sufficient and could require lifelong care, either in-home or in a facility.
If your child has Down syndrome and you are struggling to pay for his or her care needs, you might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) on the child’s behalf. An attorney with the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can assess your situation, answer your questions, and advise you on how to get benefits.
We specialize in helping families get the benefits they need to survive. We can put our skills and experience to work for you. Call 866-628-8179 today for help understanding if your child with Down syndrome is considered disabled.
Is a child with Down syndrome considered disabled?
In order for your child to qualify for disability benefits, he or she must have a medical condition the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers disabling. In this case, that depends entirely on whether your child has mosaic or non-mosaic Down syndrome.
Non-mosaic Down syndrome is the most common type of the disorder, seen in over 95 percent of those affected. In this version of the disorder, every cell in the body has an extra copy of chromosome 21.
A small percentage of people have mosaic Down syndrome, in which only certain cells have the extra chromosome. As a general rule, non-mosaic Down syndrome is more severe and those affected have a greater chance of being fully disabled.
When it comes to disability benefits, it is harder for your child to qualify if he or she has mosaic Down syndrome. But no matter which form of the disorder your child has, our disability attorneys will help maximize your chances of qualifying for benefits.
Will my child with non-mosaic Down syndrome qualify for disability?
The SSA lists non-mosaic Down syndrome as a qualifying medical condition in its “Blue Book.” In the eyes of the SSA, children with non-mosaic Down syndrome are disabled from birth.
That said, we still have to provide sufficient evidence with your application to receive approval. The SSA needs proof that your child has undergone a karyotype chromosomal analysis showing that every cell has an extra copy of chromosome 21. If we can provide the SSA with a lab report of this analysis, we should not face many obstacles getting approval.
If we are unable to produce karyotype testing results, we must go a different route. Instead, we will work with your child’s doctor to obtain a statement explaining the following:
- Your child has undergone testing in the past that showed non-mosaic Down syndrome; or
- Your child has the appearance and cognitive functioning of someone with the disorder.
This evidence should suffice if the doctor’s statement is compelling and nothing in your child’s medical records contradicts it.
What if my child has mosaic Down syndrome?
Applying on behalf of a child with mosaic Down syndrome presents a bit more of a challenge. That is because the SSA does not list this form of the disorder in its Blue Book. This could be because mosaic Down syndrome, on average, is less severe, with many affected people living normal lives with minimal disability.
If your child has mosaic Down syndrome and has functional issues because of it, we can still seek disability benefits on his or her behalf. If a chance exists that your child may qualify, we will help you build a compelling case.
The SSA may approve benefits for a child with mosaic Down syndrome if the disorder causes functional limitations as severe as another condition in the Blue Book. For instance, many people with mosaic Down syndrome have one or more of the following:
- Congenital heart disease;
- Breathing disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea;
- Intellectual disabilityor a low IQ; or
- Thyroid disease.
These conditions, as well as others present in many people with Down syndrome, are all in the Blue Book. Thus, we can apply for benefits based on one of these conditions rather than on mosaic Down syndrome.
Even if your child does not have a related condition, there is one more way we can win benefits. It involves showing reduced functional capacity equivalent to another condition the SSA lists as disabling.
In other words, your child does not actually need to have a condition in the Blue Book. They just need to have the same reduction in functionality as a child with a condition in the Blue Book.
This type of argument can be very subjective. That is why the skill of your attorney matters. Our team has successfully won benefits for many clients using the reduced functional capacity guidelines. We can put our knowledge and experience to work for you and your child.
Are there income limitations for families applying for disability?
The SSA does have strict income limits for families applying for disability. As the parent of a child with a disability, you can only apply for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI is a welfare program for the needy and it is only available to households with low income and low assets.
To qualify for SSI, your monthly income must fall below a certain limit. The exact amount you can earn varies based on your household size and the source of your income. Our attorneys can analyze your household finances and let you know if income limitations might pose a challenge to your application.
A Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help Your Child Qualify for Benefits
The experts at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, know how to fight and win disability cases. We want to put our skills and experience to work for your family. Let us help you qualify for benefits for your child with Down syndrome.