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Children and their eligibility for Social Security Disability

Karns & Kerrison

While many people think that Social Security Disability benefits are only available to adults, some children in Rhode Island may qualify. There are certain rules and guidelines that must be met in order to be approved, but the additional income can ease the financial burden of parents caring for disabled children.

It is important to understand the age restrictions involved. According to Social Security, children can be as old as 18 or as young as a newborn to be eligible. The child must live at home with the parents and cannot be married. If the child meets the qualification as a regular student, the age limit can extend to 22. Additionally, if the child attends a school part of the time and resides at the school, the child may still qualify for benefits under certain conditions.

The income of the family and the child is taken into account as part of the determination of eligibility, Social Security states. If the parents make too much money, it is unlikely that benefits will be approved. The agency does make allowances for costs that cover a personal assistant, medical equipment and other services if the child is working. Furthermore, up to $1,780 of the child’s monthly pay can be excluded from the income calculation under the 2016 guidelines.

The severity of the condition, whether mental, physical or both, is also taken into consideration. Generally, this means the condition is fatal, or will afflict the child for at least a year or more. The child’s activity must be significantly limited by the condition. Proving the existence of the disabling condition is similar to that of an adult. Among the items that will need to be submitted are medical and school records. Social Security will ask for access to any professionals, therapists, teachers or doctors who work with the child and can provide information about the effect of the condition on the child.


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