Supplemental Security Income: reviewing a child’s case

In our last post we looked at how Supplemental Security Income can help disabled children. These children, and the family members they live with, have to meet certain income and resource requirements to get benefits. Children with severe conditions may be able to get benefits immediately without having to wait for final approval.

We mentioned that the Social Security Administration does periodic reviews of a child’s medical condition to make sure the child still qualifies for benefits. This review happens at least every three years for those children who are under the age of 18 and whose conditions are supposed to improve. The review will happen by a child’s first birthday if the child was getting SSI payments because of a low birth weight. These aren’t the only circumstances in which the administration may review your child’s case. For this reason, it is always important to document your child’s severe disability.

Another question that many parents may have has to do with age limitation. What happens to the benefits when the child turns 18? The administration will use rules that are specific to adults applying for SSI benefits. That means the disability will be examined based on these guidelines. Fortunately, only their income and resources will be taken into account – their parents’ or guardians’ incomes will no longer be counted. The important part to remember is that if your child did not qualify for benefits because your income was too high, your adult child may now be able to qualify for SSI.

The guidelines can be complicated and often confusing for parents who want the best for their disabled child. It may be helpful to work with attorney who has experience dealing with SSI.