Are Children More Easily Approved for Social Security Disability?

by Nov 12, 2018General

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes no official position on whether adults or children are more easily approved for Social Security disability. But many child disability claims are for conditions which do not easily lend themselves to a lot of objective evidence. Not to mention, children do not work or earn their own living, so they cannot argue for benefits based on unemployability.

Many people find it more difficult to get Social Security disability for their disabled children than for themselves. However, everyone’s experience is different. In many cases, the best option, whether you are seeking disability as an adult or for a minor child, is to sit down with a Social Security lawyer before filing your claim.

Why Children’s Disability Claims Can Be Challenging

It can be challenging to receive approval for Social Security disability on behalf of a minor child, even if the child has legitimate medical issues requiring special schooling or the constant care of a doctor or medical professional.

One challenge with children’s claims is, at least until a certain age such as 16, our society does not expect children to work, so unemployability is not a factor. Since children cannot file a disability claim based on the inability to work, the SSA provides specific diagnostic criteria which must be present for a child to receive benefits for a listed condition. These criteria are highly specific and can be difficult to meet.

Common medical conditions for which parents apply for Social Security disability on behalf of their children include:


Asthma is a common childhood condition, and many people grow out of it by the time they become adults. For the SSA to grant disability for childhood asthma, the condition must be severe and disabling.

Specifically, the SSA requires the child to have a record of hospitalization at least three times in the last year, with each hospital visit lasting at least 48 hours and occurring at least 30 days apart. If an applicant cannot provide evidence of this, the SSA most likely will deny their claim.


Just because a child has an attention deficit does not mean they will easily receive approval for Social Security disability. The SSA requires more than a diagnosis of ADHD to receive benefits. You must have documentation of your child’s “frequent distractibility” and/or “hyperactive and impulsive behavior” and limitation of understanding and remembering information, interacting with others, concentrating or maintaining pace, or managing his or herself.

Other Learning Disabilities

The standards for other learning disabilities—for instance, dyslexia—are the same as the standards for ADHD.

Seizure Disorder

If a child receives a diagnosis of seizure disorder (epilepsy), they can qualify for Social Security disability, but their diagnosis must meet at least one of two very specific criteria:

  • The child has generalized tonic-clonic seizures at least once per month for three consecutive months despite taking their medication as prescribed; or
  • The child has dyscognitive seizures or absence seizures at least once a week for three consecutive months despite taking their medication as prescribed.

How to Bolster Your Child’s Social Security Disability Claim

Getting Social Security disability on behalf of a minor child is not easy. But there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances:

Attend Doctor’s Appointments Regularly

If your child is not under the care of a doctor on a regular basis, your disability claim will not be very compelling. The SSA might think the condition is not too serious if your child regularly goes months without medical care.

Follow the Doctor’s Treatment Protocol

Again, this is all about showing the SSA how serious your child’s condition is. If you skimp on treatment or do not strictly adhere to your child’s doctor’s instructions, the SSA may not validate the severity of the condition.

Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

A lawyer can review your child’s condition and help you put together a claim with the highest chance of getting approved. There is no risk, either, as Social Security lawyers only collect payment when you begin collecting benefits.

Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Social Security Disability Case Evaluation

The Social Security disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group want to help you file a Supplemental Security Income claim and receive benefits. We offer a free initial case evaluation. Call our office today at 865-566-0800.