The Social Security Administration determines each child’s eligibility for Supplement Security Income on a case-by-case basis. The agency applies criteria that include the child’s age, disability status, family structure, parental income, and receipt of other types of federal benefits. Meeting with an Cleveland Social Security disability lawyer before preparing and submitting an SSI application for your own child will help ensure you provide all the needed information.

Age and Disability Criteria

A child can be awarded SSI at any age between birth and 18 years. Eligibility can extend to 22 when the child regularly attends school.

The principal qualifications for SSI are low income, few financial resources, and a long-term disability. The income criteria are discussed below. To be considered disabled for SSI purposes, a child must be blind or suffer from a physical, mental, or emotional condition that severely limits his or her function and will either persist for more than 12 months or result in the child’s death.

The SSA defines childhood blindness as having central visual acuity of less than 20/200 and/or total field of vision of less than 20 degrees. Working with a Social Security disability lawyer will help a parent or stepparent organize diagnoses, prognoses, and other medical records from accredited health care providers.

Income and Financial Resources Criteria

The SSA awards Supplemental Security Income based on documented need. For applications submitted in children’s names, the agency looks at the income, savings, investments, and property of the parents or stepparents. During 2017, single-parent households with monthly earned incomes of $3,065 or less could qualify all resident blind or disabled children for SSI. The cutoff for what the SSA calls “deemed income” rose to $3,801 for two-parent households. Deemed income is subject to multiple deductions and exclusions that an Ohio disability lawyer will be able to explain to SSI applicants.

Unearned income from investments and federal programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and veterans’ benefits can also factor into the SSI eligibility calculation. The SSA want SSI application to include documentation of applications for these other forms of assistance. If no applications were made, submitting explanations for why the family is not eligible or was denied will suffice.

A final income consideration comes into play for children in Ohio who are 14 older. When a child works despite having a disability, his or her income must be reported along with the parents’ income as part of the SSI application.

Other SSI Eligibility Criteria

To receive Supplemental Security Income, a child must be a U.S. citizen, live in the United States, reside in a place other than a care facility at the government’s expense, and not be married. A few exceptions exist for each of these general rules, so consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Ohio Social Security disability lawyer when exploring SSI eligibility can salvage an application that seems doomed for rejection.

When SSI payments to a child are approved, the child’s parents must name a representative payee who receives and administers the funds on the child’s behalf. SSI money must be used for the child’s benefit, and each dollar must be carefully accounted for. Violating the duties of a representative payee is considered a serious federal offense.

You can request a no-cost, no-pressure appointment with an Ohio SSI and Social Security disability attorney by calling Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. Consultations can also be scheduled online.