In addition to retirement benefits and compensation for adults who become disabled after working and paying Social Security income taxes for a number of years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides needs-based disability benefits known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These benefits are for blind or disabled individuals in financial distress and children under the age of 18 in some circumstances.
Like any other type of Social Security benefits, though, SSI can be hard to obtain on your child’s behalf without counsel from a local disability advocate. Once retained, your dedicated Forsyth County children’s SSI lawyer will advise you on how to build a strong application with as much supplementary evidence as possible, giving you the best chances of getting the benefits your family needs.
In order for a person under 18 years of age to qualify for SSI, they must meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” meaning they must have some physical or mental condition that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death and which limits the child’s day-to-day activities.
Additionally, the child’s family cannot earn in excess of the SSA’s income and resource limit. Importantly, though, this limit is calculated differently between child and adult SSI benefits. For an SSI application filed on a child’s behalf, income includes not only work wages/salary earned by their parent(s), but also money obtained from unemployment benefits, contributions from family or friends, and other sources.
Similarly, “resources” in the context of a child SSI claim may include liquid money, financial instruments like stocks and bank accounts, real property, owned land, life insurance, and anything else that could be used to meet basic needs or converted directly into cash. A Forsyth County attorney could review a prospective applicant’s circumstances and identify what property and sources of income might play into their application for SSI benefits on their child’s behalf.
If the SSA approves an application for children’s SSI benefits, the disabled child in question will continue to receive payments for three years, at which point their SSI status must be renewed. In the same vein, benefits received on behalf of a disabled infant are subject to review once the child reaches their first birthday.
Once a disabled child reaches the age of 18, the income and resources of family members no longer count toward or against their SSI eligibility. Instead, only the disabled child’s own financial resources and earning capacity are considered, and they must also meet a slightly different definition of “disability” that applies to adult SSI applicants. An experienced disability representative’s assistance is often crucial to successfully switching from children’s SSI benefits to adult SSI benefits in Forsyth County.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits of any kind is rarely a simple process, especially for benefits sought on a disabled child’s behalf. If you want to boost your family’s chances of obtaining the benefits you need, seeking guidance from a qualified Social Security advocate for the disabled may be a virtual necessity.
By working with a Forsyth County children’s SSI lawyer, you could more effectively protect your child’s interests even in the face of a denied claim. Schedule a consultation by calling our intake team today.