Applying for Disability Based on a Learning Disability or Developmental Delay

by Jul 14, 2017Disability Benefits

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Having a child with a learning disability or developmental delay can be hard on a family. The child might require tutoring or extra help with school work. He might find it difficult to fit in with peers socially or lash out at teachers and authority figures in frustration. He may also suffer from other mental ailments, like depression.

With the right resources, many children with learning disabilities can learn to function at an age-appropriate level. They can develop self-confidence and stave off depression and antisocial behavior. But these resources often come at a high price. Families who lack financial means find it difficult to get their learning-disabled children the help they need.

If your child’s diagnosis meets certain criteria and your income qualifies, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD). The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help. Our specialty is fighting for disability benefits for our clients. We can answer any questions you have about applying for disability based on a learning disability or developmental delay. Call 865-566-0800 today for a free consultation.

What type of disability benefits can my child qualify for?

If you are applying for disability on behalf of a disabled child, then you are only eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program differs from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Whereas SSDI is a government-run disability insurance program for working adults who later become disabled, SSI is a welfare program for low-income families who experience disability.

Because of this distinction, it is possible for your child to meet all the criteria to qualify as disabled and still receive a denial for benefits because your income is too high. Our disability attorneys can look at your child’s medical records as well as your family’s income and expenses. With that information, we can assess your chances of qualifying for benefits.

Does my child’s learning disability or developmental delay qualify for SSI?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a long list of medical conditions for which a child can potentially qualify for SSI. While learning disabilities and developmental delays do not explicitly appear on the list, your child might qualify under related intellectual disorders. Depending on the nature of your child’s diagnosis, if his condition is severe, it might fall under this category.

Criteria to Receive Benefits for Learning Disabilities

The actual title of your child’s diagnosis matters less than how it affects his ability to function in certain areas. We have to demonstrate that your child has severe impairment in at least two of the following categories.

Cognitive or Communicative Function

This refers to your child’s capacity to learn, process new information, and interact with others, both at school and away from school. We can show impairment in this area through standardized test results, interviews with teachers and counselors, and reports from doctors and psychiatrists.

Social Functioning

If your child has severe difficulties relating to peers, we can demonstrate an impairment in social functioning through psychological testing and interviews with teachers and school counselors.

Personal Functioning

This refers to your child’s ability to learn to become self-sufficient. If your child lags behind peers in situations such as looking before crossing the street or knowing to tie his shoes, we can document this information and use it as evidence of impairment in personal functioning.

Maintaining Focus and Pace on School Work

A persistent lack of focus and inability to complete schoolwork in a timely manner is evidence of a severe impairment in this area. We can work with teachers and counselors at your child’s school to document performance on school work.

How can I prove the severity of my child’s disorder?

Because the SSA sets a high bar to qualify for benefits, we need to gather as much evidence as possible. The most powerful evidence of your child’s learning disability comes from two sources.

School Records

Your child’s school records are an excellent source of information about his condition. We can use standardized test results, teacher evaluations, and test results from school psychologists to demonstrate the extent of your child’s condition and its effects on his life. If your child requires special education classes or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), we can submit this as evidence, as well.

Psychological Evaluations

A psychological evaluation is a strong complement to your child’s school records. It provides a professional opinion of the source of your child’s learning limitations. We back up this information with school records showing your child’s actual performance.

What are the income requirements of the SSI program?

If your family makes too much money, regardless of your child’s condition, you cannot qualify for SSI. The program’s income requirements are not cut-and-dry. Different limits exist based on how many adults and children are in your household. For example, in a household with two parents and one disabled child, the 2017 income limit is $3,801 per month.

On top of that, you can exclude certain types of income from your total and make deductions for some household expenses. Our attorneys can analyze your earnings and expenses to determine if you have a chance to qualify.

Do I need an attorney to get SSI for my child?

At the Law Firm of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we know how to win disability benefits for our clients. The SSI application process is intricate and, at times, confusing. It is easy to miss something important when you do not have a professional working for you. Our disability lawyers know how to prepare the strongest case for your child.

We handle the process from beginning to end and keep you in the loop the entire time. We also offer a free initial consultation. Call 865-566-0800 today to schedule an appointment.