Raising a child with a mental condition can be a challenge. When children suffer from developmental delays, learning problems, personality disorders, or other mental issues, they often require extra time and care. There are also potential financial costs. To control the condition and help with assimilation into school and social functioning, your child might require counseling, therapy, or regular care from mental health professionals.

If your child has a qualifying mental condition and your household meets certain income requirements, you might be eligible for disability benefits to help defray some of the costs of raising your child.

At the Law Firm of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, our qualified disability attorneys can help you understand which children’s mental conditions can qualify for disability and maximize your chances of receiving benefits. We specialize in these cases and we are happy to put our knowledge and resources to work for you. We will help you build a compelling case proving that your child’s condition qualifies and we can show you how to take full advantage of income exemptions and deductions so you have the best chance of qualifying. Call 865-566-0800 today for a free consultation.

What are the different types of disability benefits?

Disability comes in two forms: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As a parent applying for benefits on behalf of a disabled child, you are only eligible for SSI. The SSI program has strict requirements for the types of childhood disabilities that qualify for benefits. This program also has income guidelines that your household must meet. Our lawyers can help you maximize your chances of qualifying with both criteria.

The reason you cannot apply for SSDI on behalf of a disabled child is because this program, instead of being a welfare benefit for the needy, is a type of government insurance for workers who become disabled. Workers’ payroll taxes serve as premiums and fund the program and, like most insurance policies, only people who have paid premiums can make claims and receive benefits. That means only people who have worked and paid into the system can draw SSDI benefits. Children, obviously, do not have sufficient work histories.

SSI is available to any family with a qualifying disability in the household that has income and assets below a certain amount. Our attorneys can explain the approval process to you and help you make the most compelling case to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your child qualifies for benefits.

Which mental conditions qualify children for SSI benefits?

The SSA provides a list of children’s mental conditions that qualify for SSI benefits. You might be eligible for benefits if your child’s condition falls under one of these categories.

  • Neurocognitive disorders: This includes any disorder that impairs your child’s attention span, executive function, learning, memory, language development, fine motor skills, or social cognition.
  • Schizophrenia: This includes a documented history of delusions, hallucinations, severely disorganized thinking, disorganized behavior, and other psychotic disorders.
  • Depression: This includes bipolar disorder and might also apply if your child has diminished interest in activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts.
  • Intellectual disorder: Your child may qualify for benefits if he or she has an IQ below 70 in addition to deficits in cognitive functioning.
  • Anxiety: This includes obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Somatic symptoms: This includes altered motor or sensory functions, as well as limitations in the ability to understand, remember, and apply information.
  • Personality disorders: These include patterns of distrust of others, disregard for authority or social norms, excessive attention-seeking, feelings of inadequacy, and impulsive behavior.
  • Autism: Your child might qualify for benefits if diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders: This includes certain severe forms of ADHD as well as hyperactive behavior and poor impulse control.
  • Eating disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder.
  • Developmental disorders in infants and toddlers: This applies to children under age 3 whose cognitive, social, or fine motor development is significantly below that of their peers.
  • Trauma and stress: This applies to children who have suffered through disturbing events, such as serious injury or violence, and have shown lasting mental or psychological effects as a result.

Keep in mind that the above is not an exhaustive list. We can examine the particulars of your situation and help you make the strongest case to the SSA that you deserve benefits.

What are the income restrictions for the SSI program?

In addition to meeting the SSA’s medical criteria, your household must meet income and asset limitations to qualify for SSI. This is a program for the needy, so if you make too much money or have too much in assets, the SSA will not approve you.

The exact limit on how much you can make varies based on the number of people in your household. You do not have to include all your income toward the total and certain household expenses are eligible for deduction. This means the income you report to the SSA might be a lot less than what you actually earn.

Our attorneys can look at your household finances and assess your chances of approval before you apply for SSI. We can also show you how to structure your income to take advantage of all the exemptions and deductions that are available to you.

Talk to a Skilled Social Security Disability Lawyer

Getting approved for SSI disability can be complex and nuanced. It helps to have an advocate who understands the process. The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, have won disability benefits for many clients and we can put our experience to work for you.

We can handle your claim from beginning to end and aggressively pursue benefits on your behalf. Call 865-566-0800 today for a free consultation.