Getting SSI Disability for Auditory Processing Disorder for a Child

by Jul 14, 2017Disability Benefits

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Auditory processing disorder (APD) involves a lack of coordination between the ears and the brain. Affecting roughly 5 to 7 percent of children, the condition can impair one’s ability to process and apply what they hear. This can cause severe difficulties with learning and functioning in school. If your child has APD, you might be able to receive disability on the child’s behalf. A skilled disability attorney can examine your situation and help you pursue benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

You can maximize your child’s chances of approval by working with the Disability Advantage Group. We specialize in disability cases and have helped many clients receive benefits for their own as well as their children’s disabilities. We can examine your case, determine if you might qualify for benefits, and then pursue your claim aggressively with the SSA. Call 865-566-0800 today for more information on disability benefits for APD for a child.

Which disability benefits can my child qualify for?

The SSA distributes disability benefits from two main programs: the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSA awards SSI benefits to provide extra income to low-income households in which at least one member has a qualifying disability. Children are eligible for SSI benefits, but because it is a welfare program for the needy, it has family income restrictions. We can help you determine if you qualify based on your income.

This program is different from SSDI, which is a government insurance program to help workers who become disabled. Only people who have a sufficient work history and have paid into the system via payroll taxes are eligible for SSDI. Since you are applying on behalf of a child, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.

How can I receive SSI benefits for my child’s APD?

The SSA publishes a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits. APD can fall under the listing for communication impairments arising from neurological disorders. Children with a medical diagnosis of this condition might be eligible for disability.

A valid APD diagnosis requires the sustained presence of more than one of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty retaining verbal information;
  • Problems following even simple directions;
  • Impaired listening skills;
  • Problems maintain concentrating in the presence of loud noises;
  • Delays in processing information and answering questions;
  • Speech delays;
  • Difficulty reading and writing at an age-appropriate level; and
  • Problems following conversations.

Children with APD often thrive in quiet environments but struggle with school work and other tasks if they are in the presence of even a small auditory stimulus, such as background noise.

To qualify for SSI disability for APD, we need a valid diagnosis of the condition from a licensed audiologist. We can strengthen our case by presenting additional evidence, such as school records that demonstrate consistent lagging performance, or reports from a speech pathologist detailing your child’s deficits in speech and listening comprehension.

The two most important things we want to show with regards to your child’s condition are:

  • Your child has verbal communication and processing deficits that are putting him or her behind other children of the same age; and
  • Your child’s condition limits the clarity and the content of his or her speech.

What if my child does not meet these criteria?

Even if your child does not meet the SSA’s strict criteria as outlined above, we can still pursue benefits if the child has an impairment that affects his or her functioning in an equivalent manner.

It is important to remember that the SSA is looking for documentation showing how your child’s condition is affecting development. The SSA is not as concerned with the specific condition your child is suffering from.  

If your child’s APD diagnosis does not fulfill all the above criteria, but we can demonstrate that it has an equivalent effect on his or her speech and verbal comprehension, we can still make a strong case that you are eligible for benefits.

How much money can I make and still be eligible for SSI disability?

SSI, as a welfare program for the needy, has income and asset limitations. Households who earn above the limit or who have substantial assets do not qualify for SSI, regardless of the severity of the disability. The maximum you can earn or hold in assets depends on the number of people in your household.

If you are the sole income earner in your household and you have one disabled child, the SSI income limit is $3,065 per month. The limit for married couples where both spouses earn income is $3,801 per month.

Before deciding you do not qualify because you earn more than the limit, understand this: Not all the money you earn counts toward the limit. The SSA allows for numerous exemptions, meaning you can leave out certain forms of income. You can also deduct some of your household expenses and lower your income further.

The entire process can be tricky. Our attorneys have experience helping clients qualify for SSI. We can help you take full advantage of every deduction and exemption available to you so that you have the best chance of approval.

Do I need a lawyer to receive SSI disability for my child?

A skilled attorney can help you build a much stronger case for your child, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome. As many clients have discovered, the SSA’s decision-making process can seem arbitrary and unpredictable. Many people who think they have a strong case receive a denial over a technicality or because they left out an important piece of evidence.

At the Disability Advantage Group, we make sure the claim we submit to the SSA is compelling and thorough. We have helped many clients win benefits, even when they were previously declined. If you have already received a denial, we can help you navigate the appeals process for your claim. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call 865-566-0800 today for a free consultation.