SSI benefits may be available to some children with cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, particularly when it attacks some of our most cherished individuals: children. In fact, each year thousands of people 20-years-old or younger receive a cancer diagnosis. Cancer is the foremost cause of death due to a disease for children. Not only are children with cancer in Knoxville left fighting for their lives, leaving their parents struggling emotionally, but the monetary costs of battling cancer can be extreme, leaving their parents struggling financially as well.

However, parents in this situation are not left without a financial lifeline to help them during this difficult time. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a benefits program to help families battling certain types of cancers. While, for the most part, children have not worked, and therefore have not paid into the Social Security system, meaning they do not qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, in some cases, children qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Those who want to apply for SSI must fill out and submit an application for SSI benefits, along with a form known as a Child Disability Report. This report outlines information about the child’s disabling condition and how the condition influences the child’s capacity to function.

To apply, parents should look over the Child Disability Starter Kit, which provides information about how to apply for benefits for their child. It is available on the SSA’s website. The SSI benefits system has narrow limits on how much in assets and income an applicant has, as it is meant for low income individuals. Therefore, it can help to get in touch with the SSA to determine if both the parents’ and the child’s assets and income fall within the permissible financial parameters.

After that, parents should complete the Child Disability Report. This can be done over the Internet. It includes paperwork to sign that allows the child’s physicians to provide the SSA with information about the child’s medical condition, which the SSA requires to reach a determination about the child’s application. This paperwork is found in the Child Disability Starter Kit.

Children with cancer need thorough medical care that may take a long time to complete. Expensive hospital stays, procedures and medications can lead to significant expenses. Fortunately, SSI benefits may be available to help parents defray such costs.

Source: The Jackson County Times-Journal, “Social Security Column: Social Security covers children battling cancer,” Marcus Geiger, Sept. 12, 2016