Disability Requirements for Minors: How Is Your Child Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

child's disabilityWhen an adult files for disability, he must first make sure that his condition satisfies the requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These requirements include the validation of his condition’s eligibility through the SSA bluebook; proof of the condition’s severity: and a detailed account of how and why the condition affects the claimant’s ability to work and support himself.

Although this may seem like an ordeal, with the help of an experienced and dedicated attorney, building a strong and convincing claim for adult disability is possible. However, when pursuing a disability claim for a minor, the qualifications for approval can be even more demanding.

Eligibility Requirements for Child Disability Benefits

Working-age adults aren't the only group to be eligible for disability benefits. Although SSA credits are evaluated when determining adult eligibility, children with no work experience can still receive benefits. However, similar to adult claims, children must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Age limit. There isn't a minimum age requirement to receive disability. A child can be eligible from the moment of birth. However, to be considered a minor, your child must be under the age of 18. Certain exceptions can be made to extend the age limit to 22 if at least one parent is deceased or currently receiving his or her own SSA benefits.
  • Income cap. To be eligible for disability, your child must not earn more than the SSA yearly income cap, which was approximately $1,130 a month in 2016. Your child’s income not only includes earned wages from a job but also unearned wages from things such as child support payments.
  • Functional limitations. To be considered for approval, your child must have a debilitating physical or mental condition that prevents him from performing daily activities or functioning on his own.
  • Long-term prognosis. Your child’s condition must be disabling, or is expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months. Fatal prognoses don't have to fall within this timeframe, as they’re considered severe enough on their own merit.

Disability Benefits Approval Period

Once your claim has addressed the requirements and been filed with the SSA, it may take up to five months for the disability board to declare a verdict on whether your child meets the criteria for approval. However, the SSA does occasionally make exceptions for certain serious medical conditions, and will approve immediate conditional disability benefits for up to six months while it investigates the claim’s eligibility.

Some of the conditions that may qualify for this determination exception include:

  • Complete blindness or deafness
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Severe intelectual disability (for a child age 7 or older)
  • Low birth weight (for a child below 2 pounds, 10 ounces)

Filing Your Child’s Claim

For more information on how and when to file a successful disability claim for your child, contact our office today. With over 35 years' experience, we understand how the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income systems work. Don’t compromise your child’s benefits by failing to get the guidance and support your claim needs. Call us at (386) 673-4412 to schedule your complimentary case review. We’ll be happy to discuss your claim options and point you in the right direction to secure your benefits.