Social Security Benefits for Children

children playing.jpg
Raising a child with disabilities can present unique challenges. As a parent, meeting your child’s needs can become quite expensive. Medical bills, supportive care expenses, and specialized education costs can all add up quickly. In some cases, a parent may find it necessary to cut back on their workload or stop working entirely to better care for their child. The resulting loss of income and lack of medical insurance can be financially devastating.

If your child has a disability, he/she may be entitled to receive social security benefits if the child meets the requirements outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  A disable child can become eligible at birth. A child can be eligible until the age of 18. Once a child reaches the age of 18, the child will have to meet the qualifications for adult benefits.





How to Qualify

The child must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, whether that is mental or physical, or a combination. An individual with one or more of the following diagnoses will most likely qualify for SSI:


  • Total Blindness

  • Total Deafness

  • Down Syndrome

  • Severe Intellectual Disability

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • The child must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or impairments which result in marked and severe functional limitations and the impairment(s) has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.


Parents of children with autism often also apply for SSI. The degree to which the autism impacts the child’s ability to handle daily living will have a huge impact on that child’s eligibility.


Whether or not your child qualifies for SSI will also depend on if the child has any income and/or assets. A small savings account or a joint custodial account will not mess up a child’s ability to receive SSI. However, if you child is able to be employed, the monthly wages may be enough to make your child ineligible for SSI.




Details of the application process with CA Benefits Support:

Prior to beginning the application process, it is important that you collect medical records that thoroughly document your child’s health condition. Documentation should include records of your child’s diagnosis, medical lab test results, treatments, and hospitalizations. You should also include personal statements from professional adults that interact with your child on a regular basis. This may include doctors, teachers, coaches, or therapists. Personal statements should outline your child’s condition and how it interferes with his or her ability to perform daily activities. You should also collect records pertaining to your personal finances.

  1. If your child is seeing a doctor, it is very important that the child continues seeing the doctor throughout this process.

  2. If your child is not seeing a doctor, you will be asked to seek treatment so that we may have necessary medical evidence to support your case.

  3. During your first appointment, we will complete the initial registration paperwork to begin the process.  We will find out if the household’s income is within the income guidelines.  (See below)

  4. Once we complete all forms and gather the necessary support, we will submit your package to SSA for processing. We will initiate your claim during the first appointment but we will not submit the application until all records are received from you.

  5. It is important that you realize how long and complicated the application process can be. In fact, many applicants are denied. If your child’s application is denied, do not give up. We can help you appeal the SSA’s decision.


The SSA will also contact any medical professionals or teachers who have interacted heavily with your child to gain more information about the need for resource aid.  The SSA will judge the severity of your child’s condition using an official guidebook of disabling conditions known as the blue book. The SSA’s blue book contains listings for potentially disabling conditions as well as specific medical criteria a person must meet in order to qualify. The SSA has separate listings for adults and children. You can view the child blue book listings, Here.



If your child is approved, the SSA will review the information occasionally to ensure that he or she is receiving the care needed, even if the child’s condition is not anticipated to improve.



Benefits for Social Security Dependents

In some cases, you may have a child that has no disabilities, but you as the parent suffer from disabilities or you were healthy but recently retired and are now receiving social security benefits. Your child may be eligible to receive benefits as well. In some cases, your child may even receive up to 50% of what you receive. For a child to be eligible, he or she must be under the age of 18 (19 if a full-time student), and the parent must be receiving social security benefits. What is great about these benefits is by your child receiving them, it does not decrease the amount that you as the parent receive. These types of benefits are also effective for children who have had a parent who was on social security and passed away while the child was still a minor.



The typical application process for disability benefits can take anywhere from several months to a year. Help Me Help You works to help shorten this processing time.  









child guidelines.jpg
Download the Child Benefits Referral Form here
At the request of your Benefits Advocate, upload your files here: