By Tony Stutts
Social Security District Manager in Petersburg
Does one know that Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash payments to children with disabilities whose families have limited income and resources?
A child must meet all of the following disability requirements to be considered medically eligible for SSI:
- The child, if not blind, must not be working or earning more than $1,350 a month in 2022. If the child is blind, they must not be working or earning more than $2,260 in 2022. The earning amounts usually change every year to keep up with inflation.
- The child must have a medical condition(s), that result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit the child’s activities.
- The child’s condition(s) must last for at least a year or expected to result in death.
Some older teenagers may have part-time jobs or are involved in work programs, which may affect eligibility to SSI. In addition, if an unmarried child under age 18 is living at home, Social Security may consider some of the parents’ income as the child’s income. Allowances are made for the parents and their other children living in the home when parents’ income is considered. More information about children’s benefits in can be found in the publication, “Benefits for Children with Disabilities” at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf.
Social Security also helps children – and adults – through its Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standard for disability benefits. A list of conditions can be found at www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm. Compassionate Allowances can help reduce the wait time for Social Security to make a disability determination for children with the most serious disabilities. Thousands of children receive benefits because they have a condition on this list, but children with conditions not on this list can still qualify for SSI.
If a person is or knows a parent, guardian, caregiver, or representative of a child that may be eligible, visit Social Security’s Disability Benefits – Apply for a Child (Under Age 18) at www.ssa.gov/ssikids to learn more and begin an application.