Social Security Disability Benefits for Children with ADD/ADHD
Written by Molly Clarke
Having a child who has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD can be financially taxing. Oftentimes parents find themselves paying for medical expenses, prescription drugs, special educational assistance, and other indirect expenses. In some cases, one or both parents may need to take time away from work in order to tend to the needs of their child. The lack of income and increased medical expenses can take a heavy financial toll. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can help offset some of the financial burden that these families face.
Meeting the SSA’s Definition of a Disability
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a child is considered to be disabled if he or she is under the age of 18 and:
- Is not working at a job that the SSA considers to be substantial work; and
- Has a physical and/or mental condition that causes marked and severe functional limitations; and
- The condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.
Technical Eligibility Requirements
The SSA offers two different types of disability benefits. These are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program has its own technical requirements that a child applicant must meet.
SSDI is typically offered to disabled workers and their eligible family members. In order to qualify for a child to qualify for SSDI benefits, he or she must have a parent who is collecting SSDI benefits. If this is the case, he or she may qualify for auxiliary benefits under the SSDI program. If a child does not have a parent collecting SSDI benefits, he or she will not qualify for SSDI benefits. For more information about SSDI auxiliary benefits, visit the following page: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/glossary/auxiliary-benefits.
SSI is designed to offer financial assistance to disabled adults and children who earn very little income. In order to qualify for SSI, applicants must meet very strict financial limits set by the SSA. In the case of a child, the SSA will evaluate the income and resources of the entire household. This is called deeming. The SSA uses the deeming process if your child lives at home, is under 18 years of age, and is unmarried. If these requirements are met, the SSA will allocate a portion of your income to your child.
Counted income includes:
- The earned income of parents and/or a step-parent
- The unearned income of parents and/or a step-parent
- The resources of parents and/or a step-parent
Income that is not counted includes:
- Income received from providing foster care
- Food stamps
- Disaster assistance payments
- Tax refunds on real property
- Home grown produce for personal use
- Income that is used to pay child support
For more information about SSI and the deeming process, visit the following page: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-deeming.htm.
Medical Eligibility Requirements
In addition to meeting the previously mentioned definition of disability and technical eligibility requirements, child applicants will also be required to meet certain medical requirements. These requirements can be found in the SSA’s blue book. Essentially, the blue book is a manual maintained by the SSA that contains the medical criteria for all potentially disabling conditions
The blue book covers ADHD in section 112.11- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. To meet this listing you must provide medical proof that your child experiences the following
- Marked inattention; and
- Marked impulsiveness; and
- Marked hyperactivity.
View this complete listing, here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/112.00-MentalDisorders-Childhood.htm#112_11.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
If your child qualifies for SSDI auxiliary benefits, you should contact the representative who handles the eligible parent’s claim.
If you wish to apply for SSI benefits on behalf of your child, you will be required to complete the Child Disability Report and the Application for Supplemental Security Income. Your child will also have to attend a mandatory interview with an SSA representative. Although the Child Disability Report can be completed online, many parents prefer to complete both forms at the time of their scheduled interview.
Once you are ready to begin the application process, you should call your local Social Security office to schedule your interview. Unfortunately, the next available appointment may not be for several months. While you are waiting for your child’s interview, you should collect all necessary medical and non-medical records. A list of these records can be found in the SSA’s Child Disability Interview Checklist– http://www.ssa.gov/disability/Documents/Checklist%20-%20Child.pdf.
After completing your interview and submitting your child’s application, it may be several months before you receive a decision. It is important that you are prepared to face the possibility of denial. Should this occur, do not panic. You have 60 days in which to file an appeal. Although it may be discouraging to receive a denial, the appeals process is often a necessary step toward receiving disability benefits. In fact, many more applicants are approved during the appeals process than during the initial application.
For more information about applying for Social Security Disability benefits, visit Social Security Disability Help (http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/blog) or contact Molly Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly Clarke is a Social Media Coordinator and writer for Social Security Disability Help. She contributes regularly to the Social Security Disability Help blog where she works to promote disability awareness and assist individuals throughout the disability application process.