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Daughter has leukemia. Why would she be denied SSI benefits?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “My daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia. I thought she would be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). I recently got a denial letter. Can you help me understand what I need to do to help her get SSI benefits?” disability-benefits-help

What is Supplemental Security Income?

The Social Security Administration administers two long-term disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) long-term disability program specifically designed for workers who have a severe health condition which will last 12 continuous months and will not allow them to work. Supplemental Security Income or SSI, however, is provided to the aged, blind, or disabled who are unable to work. Children who meet the disability requirements can also qualify for SSI benefits.

Why would my child be denied SSI benefits for leukemia?

There are several reasons that your child might be denied SSI benefits. Let’s discuss the two most common reasons:
  1. The SSA determined your child did not meet the medical requirements for Supplemental Security Income.
The first reason the SSA may have denied your daughter’s SSI claim for leukemia is they have determined that it does not meet the listing outlined in the SSA Listing of Impairments. For more information about how the SSA will evaluation your daughter’s condition you can review the Blue Book Listing found in Section 113.00 Neoplastic Diseases. Information that the SSA will need to make a disability determination include documentation about how the cancer started, image scans, and biopsies. The SSA will also review whether your child has metastatic tumors through image scans and lab work. Finally, the SSA will review the long-term prognosis for your child, her treatment options, and how the treatment will impact her.
  1. The SSA determined your family did not meet the income and resource requirements for SSI benefits.
Another common reason claimants are denied SSI benefits is because they do not meet the income and resource requirements for SSI. Supplemental Security Income awards cash benefits to the blind, disabled or aged, but to qualify claimants must have limited income and resources. Specifically, the SSI recipient is limited to $2,000 in assets for a single person and $3,000 in assets for a couple. Many assets are exempted so if you have questions about your resources you can contact the SSA for more information. Income limits also apply. Although the income calculation can be a bit complicated, in general, it is tied to the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) and is $733 per month for an individual and $1,100 per month for a couple in 2016. This does not mean, however, that you always have to earn less than $733 per month. Some types of income are also exempt. Talk to the SSA if you have questions about whether your income is too high for your daughter to qualify. Bottom Line: If your daughter was denied benefits the SSA has probably determined that her condition either does not qualify for SSI or you and your spouse make too much money for her to qualify. Recent articles: