Does Your Child Qualify for SSI Benefits?

We welcome this contribution from Deanna Power of Social Security Disability Help. Please note that we cannot answer any questions about specific situations. Please address all questions about eligibility or how to apply to help@disability-benefits-help.org.

SSI offers financial relief to families living with serious pediatric illness.

SSI offers financial relief to families living with serious pediatric illness.

It is almost a law of nature that a child’s illness impacts a family’s income. Medical bills, time off from work, extra housekeeping or childcare needs add up quickly. SSI (Supplemental Security Income), a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides some relief for families through monthly financial assistance to parents of children with life-threatening or severe chronic illnesses.

Do you qualify?

For your child to qualify for disability benefits, he or she will need to not only be disabled, but your family will need to meet income level thresholds. If your household income is too high, your child will be ineligible for SSI benefits.

The process of determining if your child meets the financial qualification for SSI is referred to by the SSA as “deeming.”  The SSA will consider some of your income and resources when determining if your child meets the financial requirements to receive SSDI benefits, but not everything. If you have other children or a spouse, your income threshold will be higher.

What are the medical requirements for SSDI for Children?

The SSA’s definition of “disability” for children states that children must have a mental or physical condition that seriously limits their activities, has lasted or will last for at least 12 months, or is expected to significantly shorten the child’s lifespan so that s/he will not survive past childhood.  In order to determine if the mental or physical condition meets the requirements of a disability, the SSA uses a list of impairments commonly referred to as the Blue Book.

The “Blue Book” lists the medical criteria for evaluating a mental or physical impairment to determine if the severity is a disability for the child.  In addition to the Blue Book, the SSA maintains a Compassionate Allowance list with conditions that are considered so severe they almost always meet the medical requirements for a disability. Compassionate Allowances are also approved much quicker than typical applications, so your child could receive benefits much faster.

Evidence used to prove that your child meets the criteria in the Blue Book includes medical reports, medical tests, information from the child’s school, reports by caregivers or social workers, consultative examinations ordered by the SSA, and information provided by parents or other sources about the child’s daily activities, symptoms, and functional limitations.

 Examples of life-threatening childhood illnesses in the SSA’s Blue Book.

Many of the illnesses contained in the Blue Book can be considered life threatening.  Each condition has specific criteria that must be met in order to consider the condition a disability.

Childhood cancers: Cancer is addressed in Sections 113.00 (solid tumors) and 107.00 (hematological disorders).

Heart transplants: If your child has a serious heart condition and requires a heart transplant, the SSA will consider your child medically disabled for at least 12 months following the procedure. After 12 months, the SSA will reevaluate your child to determine if he or she is still medically eligible for benefits.

Low birth weight: If your child is born prematurely, he or she could receive benefits. The SSA has a chart depicting how much your child must way at his or her time of birth to qualify.

Additional categories include musculoskeletal system disorders; special senses and speech; and disorders involving the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, genitourinary, dermatology, endocrine, neurological, and immune system disorders. Information about congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems and mental disorders are also available.

 How do I apply for SSI for my child?

The SSA’s website provides detailed steps for how to apply for SSI for your child.  You can complete the Child Disability Report online; however, to complete an SSI application for your child, you must schedule an appointment with your local SSA office by calling 1-800-772-1213.


Editor’s Note: Social Security Disability Help(DisabilityBenefitsCenter.org) is an advertising service paid for by the lawyers and advocates whose names are provided in response to user requests (the free disability evaluation tool on the site).



62 thoughts on “Does Your Child Qualify for SSI Benefits?

        • Rachel, thanks for getting in touch. Without evaluating your son, we can’t comment on whether he will qualify for SSI. The first step is a complete evaluation of his speech and language challenges. Your best bet is to speak with your son’s pediatrician and ask him/her to refer you to someone who can evaluate him. Good luck.

    • Yes you can get SSI for his hearing loss because my son get it also for his hearing loss and he’s 8 years old and any other health problems your child have you can put that down as also

  1. I just found out few weeks ago that my 10 year old daughter has a learning disability. Does she qualify for ssi?

  2. My son has asd level 1 and apraxia. Will he qualify and if I want to try to get food stamps, what is the amount for family of 4 if youthe married.

  3. My 16 year old son has stage 4 Medullary Thyroid Cancer do you know of any programs to help with his medical bills or if he can apply for ssi?

  4. My 10 ur old has learning disabilities plus along with combined type AD HD anxiety and mood disorder optional defiant disorder…

  5. My Daughter Angelina has ADHD and now she uses an epi pen for Sever Allergies also with in past year. I found out she has a Colapsed colin from being impactment.. and elevated liver function. She also has Asthma which requires everyday use of meds for all she her illnesses. She has ear infections on a regular with flare up every time her allergies are off.. Does this qualify her for SSI..

  6. My son is on a IEP at school for speach and ocupational thearpy and some special ed services. does hr qualify for ssi

  7. My 2 year old has acute asthma and a host of other problems. The doctors tell me she will never be out of diapers and that she will never speak, she will also never be able to walk because it is above her comprehension. Her brain works at the slowest speed her doctors have ever seen. If she has not seen someone in several days, she does not recognize them at all. . They are calling her disease Chromosome 17 deletion suyndrome. We just got the determination back from SSI and they say she does not qualify for any help. Is there any one out there that knows how to put in an application with the government that actuqally works? I saw the information these doctors sent in and they explain in depth why my daughter needs SSI. But they turned us down. What are we suppose to do for income. We are already dependent on food stamps and that amount is $331 a month. I do not know what to do now just to live. Can someone help me?

  8. My 11 year old daughter has been diagnosed with a speech and language disability. She has been having mini seizures since she was about 1 years old, and she had a grand one 3 days before her 10th birthday. I had her tested at the Kennedy Krieger Institute where their findings were, she currently is on a kindergarten grade level in everything they tested for. Does she qualify for assistance from SSI?

  9. Hi my daughter was just diagnosed with sackatreck problems and i am trying to find out if she would qualify for social secerity

  10. I have legal guardian ship of my daughters friend. Her father just passed away on Saturday. Since he signed away his legal rights to her…would she still be eligible to get social security benefits now that he is deceased?

  11. Hello my son is 8 years old and has diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum ..i have started him on theraphy..May i qualify for aid

  12. Hi is there assistance available to complete a ssi application or a child disability report? How do I know which documents I should have ready available for me to complete a application correctly.

  13. Our son has been diagnosed with a progressive terminal metabolic disorder a little over a year ago. He is currently involved in clinical trials and actively receives treatment for symptoms, but nothing is a “cure”. How do we apply for disability or social security or any other benefits he may qualify for?

  14. Hello,
    I’m writing to ask my daughter has had 3 concussionso with soccer and with this last one her vision has decreased and her migraines has increased has well. She had to be put on a daily med plus she takes her meds if a migraine comes on. She was in college but I had to medically withdraw her because her symptoms became worse like she was walking and would get vertigo or feel like she was back in that game. Plus she has short term memory loss, she can’t remember things. Her drs have said she had a TBI. She is trying school again but at Paul Mitchell Academy. She is wondering if she can get any disability benefits while attending school and living on her own. She is 19years old. Any help would be helpful

  15. My four year old son has autism. He has a speech problem, he’s smart but he doesn’t learn like other children. He has a very hard time with change so he doesn’t like his routine disturbed. He’s having to go to a early childhood learning center for occupational therapy and for his speech. I’m not quite sure if he qualifies or how to go about checking for it. He’s been to a pediatric psychologist and has been diagnosed already. I really just need to know how to go about checking for eligibility.

  16. my son have been evaluated and is autisic and he does get all the services they offer and also have hearing issues also does he qualify … i did the application and they said they dont have it

  17. My son has a digestive system disorder where he digest really fast n he eats a lot…n he has allergic reaction with Eczema,hives n other rashes.

    N I need someone to call me for about my son so I can get disability for my son…

  18. I’m on ssi and my ten year old daughter has major behavior issues how would I know or find out if she’s eligible for ssi?

  19. Hi. My sons school just did an evaluation on him and had a physiologis evalute him and he has a specific learning disability and their saying he has some signs of mental retardation. He is in 2nd grade and his reading is at a 1st grader and his math is at a kindergartener. He is eligible for SSI?

  20. My daughter is in the sixth grade and has been in a special ed program since Kindergarten she has never passed she has always been placed to the next grade. She also is on a third grade reading level and on second grade math. She also has asthma and allergy. Dose this qualify her for ssi.

  21. I have custody of my 15 year old granddaughter since age 9
    & she has been diagnosed with Intellectual Disability or ID since i pulled her from public school where she was not learning at all so I put her in a private school which specializes in Dyslexia & she also has ADHD . So do I need to make an appointment to apply fro SSI for her.

  22. My son has been in north bay hospital for five months and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and will b returning home under care and on meds does he qualify

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