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SSI age requirement to receive benefits?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have a child who was born with a severe disability. I know that the federal government provides some type of disability benefits, but I thought you had to be working or something to qualify. Can you provide information to me about any type of benefits might child might receive? Is there an age requirement?” legal-help-and-disability-benefits

Disability benefits provided by the federal government

The federal government provides two different types of disability programs. First, they provide Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to injured workers who are unable to work due to a severe mental or physical health condition which is expect to last for at least 12 continuous months. Workers must also have worked, paid employment taxes, and earned work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Although SSDI does not have an age requirement, most children have not worked nor paid enough taxes to be insured so they will automatically be denied SSDI benefits (although they may qualify for SSDI auxiliary benefits if a parent is disabled).

Supplemental Security Income for children

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the second program provided by the federal government: Supplemental Security Income. Supplemental Security Income or SSI is provided for the aged, blind or disable who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. Although SSI benefits do not have an age requirement, claimants must have limited income, have limited resources, and be a U.S. citizen (or national or in one of certain categories of aliens) to qualify for benefits.

Age Requirement for SSI benefits

Assuming your child meets the nonmedical requirements for SSI, they can receive SSI benefits if they are determined to be disabled. The Social Security Administration defines a disabled child as one who “has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, (including an emotional or learning problem) that results in marked and severe functional limitations; is expected to result in death; or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” How fast can my child get SSI benefits? Children may receive SSI benefits at birth if the SSA approves your application for SSI benefits. Although the SSI process can be a bit time consuming and difficult to navigate, benefits for some very severe conditions can be expedited. The best way to find out if your child’s condition qualifies for expedited benefits is to review the Compassionate Allowance Listing (a list of diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information). Although the CAL process is not a separate program from SSI, it does allow the SSA to use objective medical information to quickly make a medical determination. What else do I need to know about the SSI process? Due to the SSI resource and income requirements of the SSI program, many severely injured or disabled children will be denied SSI benefits. If you child’s SSI application has been denied and your child is severely injured talk to the SSA to find out if your resource or income limit is too high. Recent Blogs: Company refusing to pay workers' compensation benefits