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Can you get disability benefits for a child with special needs?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Qualifying for disability benefits |

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the government organization responsible for reviewing disability requests and distributing benefits. Many people who turn to the SSA for support will request Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSDI benefits can help those unable to work because of a disabling medical condition. Unfortunately, SSDI is not an entitlement program but rather one funded by your work. You have to accrue enough credits by earning taxable income every year. Until someone has accrued enough credit, they typically will not be able to receive SSDI benefits.

Unless your child with a disabling medical condition has recently worked a job, they likely don’t have any credits in their name at all. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. There is another federal disability benefit program run by the SSA that can help children with disabling medical conditions and no employment history.

Supplemental Security income assists those who can’t qualify for SSDI

Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available even to those who have not made major contributions to the SSA through tax withholdings from their paycheck. Even children who have never worked a day in their lives can potentially qualify for SSI benefits.

They will typically have to meet the same requirements as an adult applying for SSDI. There are income limits, as well as requirements regarding the condition itself. If your child has a significant condition that affects their daily life, such as autism or muscular dystrophy, they may qualify for SSI payments to help your family. In addition to the condition being severe, it will also need to last for at least 12 months for your family to have a chance of receiving SSI for your child.

Applying for benefits could help your family better support your child

Some people feel nervous or guilty about asking for help, especially if the recipient hasn’t worked a job and contributed to the Social Security program. However, SSI exists for a reason. Many disabled Americans do not have the ability to work because of their medical conditions, and they deserve support just like those who develop disabling conditions after a long career.

Learning more about disability benefits can help you seek SSI for a child with a serious medical condition.