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Social Security Disability for Children: A Guide for Parents


As you’re already aware, raising a child with special needs is both challenging and expensive. Children with developmental issues, cognitive delays, learning disabilities, or physical ailments require extra attention – and unique medical care. Fortunately, there are benefits available under a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These funds can help you and your family cover some of the additional costs involved when your child from a mental or physical medical condition.

There can be some challenges in getting approval for benefits, however, which is why it’s wise to trust a Maryland Social Security disability lawyer to assist with the process. Some answers to frequently asked questions about disability benefits for children may also be informative. 

Does my child qualify for Social Security disability benefits? Of the two disability programs offered by SSA, the one that may apply for your situation is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This system is based upon need, not upon work history. The only two considerations are:

  1. Whether your child’s medical condition meets an item on SSA’s Listing of Impairments for children; and,
  2. The extent to which your child is limited in six different areas of functioning.

What disability benefits are available for children? The amount of disability for a child varies according to the specific circumstances. It’s a product of how much income is available for him or her, usually through the adults that share the household. The SSA considers all income sources, and attributes parents’ wages through “deeming” income. In some situations, this means a child may not be eligible because the parents make more than the threshold designated by SSA. 

Which physical disabilities will make my child eligible for SSI? A child is considered disabled for purposes of SSI benefits if:

  • He or she has a diagnosable medical condition that results in physical impairment;
  • The condition involves severe functional limitations; and,
  • The ailment is expected to last at least one year or lead to death.

Examples could be total blindness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and others. 

Will my child qualify for SSI with mental or cognitive medical conditions? The standard is the same for mental conditions, so your child may be eligible for SSI if he or she suffers from:

  • Personality disorders;
  • Severe depression or anxiety;
  • Autism;
  • Schizophrenia
  • Neurocognitive disorders; or,
  • Many other items on the SSA Listing of Impairments.

Of course, you must have solid medical records and other documentation for your child to be eligible for SSI.

Talk to a Skilled Maryland Social Security Disability Attorney 

At the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC, our knowledgeable Maryland Social Security disability lawyers can explain your family’s eligibility for benefits due to a child’s medical condition. We can also advise you on how to leverage various factors that can lead to approval of your application for SSI. To learn more about our legal services in the area of Social Security disability, please contact our offices in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis, MD to set up a free consultation.

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