Can a Child Get SSI Disability for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has a long and wide-ranging list of potential symptoms. Whether a child’s FAS symptoms are severe enough to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) varies from case to case. Some children with FAS exhibit minor symptoms or none at all, while others suffer effects so profound they cannot function on their own.

If your child suffers from FAS, a qualified disability attorney can help you apply for benefits. The professionals at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC have pursued these cases and understand the nuances of working with the Social Security Administration (SSA). We can put our knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call 866-628-8179 today to learn how you can get disability for FAS on behalf of your child.

What type of benefits can my child qualify for with FAS?

Parents who have children with disabilities might be eligible for benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program differs from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in that it is not a disability insurance program. Instead, SSI is a government welfare program for the needy.

To qualify for SSI, your child must present a qualifying disability and your income must fall below strict guidelines. Our attorneys can examine your situation and determine if your child is eligible.

How can I show my child’s FAS qualifies as a disability?

Because the potential symptoms are so varied, the SSA does not have guidelines for FAS itself. Instead, your child must qualify based on specific symptoms of the condition. We have to provide proof that your child exhibits one or more of the qualifying conditions on the list.

These qualifying conditions include:

  • Growth impairment;
  • Major dysfunction of a joint;
  • Vision loss;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Cardiovascular conditions, such as congenital heart disease or chronic heart failure;
  • Digestive conditions like malnutrition or chronic liver disease;
  • Genitourinary impairments, such as impaired renal function;
  • Neurological conditions, including seizures and delays in fine motor development; and
  • Mental disorders like developmental delays, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders.

For each symptom, the SSA has strict severity specifications that your child must meet. Simply having a diagnosis of ADHD, for example, is not enough. To qualify for SSI, your child’s ADHD must meet guidelines showing it is so severe that it has a serious, documented effect on his mental and social development. We can examine your child’s medical records and determine what evidence we need to gather to meet the SSA’s standards.

What if my child’s symptoms are not qualifying conditions?

You might still be able to receive benefits even if your child does not qualify based on one of the above listings. The SSA allows for benefits if you can show that your child has a limitation that is “functionally equal” to one or more of the listings. To show functional equality, we have to prove your child’s condition causes a marked limitation in at least two of the following areas or an extreme limitation in at least one area:

  • Acquiring and using information;
  • Attending and completing tasks;
  • Health and physical well-being;
  • Interacting with and relating to others;
  • Manipulating objects; and
  • Self-care.

The SSA compares your child’s performance to other children of the same age to determine if your child has a marked or extreme limitation. If your child is severely limited compared to peers, this indicates a marked limitation. If your child is very severely limited compared to peers, this indicates an extreme limitation.

Because such language leaves room for interpretation, you need a disability attorney who has experience working with the SSA. We can help you build the strongest case based on the evidence available.

Once my child receives benefits for FAS, how long do they last?

The SSA conducts regular checkups called Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) every three years on children it approves for SSI. The purpose of the reviews is to ensure that your child still meets the disability standard to receive benefits. In certain situations, such as a child receiving benefits for low birth weight, the SSA might conduct the first CDR sooner.

Around your child’s 18th birthday, the SSA conducts a final CDR to determine if the child qualifies for adult disability.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for SSI disability for my child with FAS?

Though the SSA lets you apply for SSI on your own, a qualified disability attorney offers the best chance of a favorable outcome. At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, disability claims are our specialty. We have won benefits for many clients and can put our experience and resources to work for you.

We handle the process from beginning to end, gathering all evidence and ensuring your claim effectively presents your case. Call 866-628-8179 today for a free consultation.