Your disabled child may be able to collect benefits from the Social Security Administration if you and your child can meet the requirements. Qualifying for SSA benefits can be a long and confusing process, but if your child's medical or mental condition meets the standards and your income is below a certain limit, your child could be eligible for benefits until they reach the age of 18. To learn more about how to qualify and the income requirements for Social Security Supplemental Insurance, read below.
Deeming of Income and Assets
Your child must qualify based on their condition, but before your child's condition is evaluated, your income must meet the limits. In a process the SSA refers to as "deeming," the parent's (or legal guardian's) income and assets are deemed as income available to care for the child. The process is quite complicated but is based on how many other children are in the home, the amount of support from other sources the child is receiving, and the parent's income.
A Social Security caseworker will complete a more accurate calculation, but general income calculators can give you a broad idea of the income guidelines. Some income can be excluded from deeming process, including:
- Foster care payments
- TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)
- Food stamps
- Refunds from income taxes
- Veterans pensions
The primary family home and vehicles are not included in the deeming calculation, however, second or vacation homes and investment accounts are deemed as "available" to the child as an asset and are counted toward the deeming calculation.
Benefits are paid, and re-calculated on a monthly basis, so your child's eligibility and benefit amounts could change under the following circumstances:
- Parent or guardian's income goes up or down.
- A parent dies.
- One parent (and their income) leave the family home.
- The child leaves the family home.
- The child enters a residential treatment facility.
Sometimes these changes are just temporary, such as a the child spending a two-week vacation at grandma's house. If you can show that the situation is temporary, the benefits amounts will not be affected. Time spent at a boarding school is not counted as an absence, as long as the child comes home for regular visits on weekends and school breaks.
The deeming calculations are complicated and the entire Social Security application process can be daunting and time-consuming. Keep in mind that it may take perseverance and appealing the initial rulings to get benefits for your disabled child. If you need some assistance to get through the process and representation at your appeal hearing, contact a Social Security attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing important filing deadlines