What Resources Are Available For Your Disabled Child?

It has never been more expensive to raise a child -- in fact, current projections estimate that you'll spend $250,000 to $300,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18, not counting college. If your child has a disability, you may be struggling to pay for medical care and other types of therapy on top of these other costs. However, the federal government has created a disability program that may be able to help defray some of the extra costs of caring for your child. Read on to learn more about Social Security Disability (SSD) as it applies to a disabled child.

Can your child receive SSD payments?

The federal government has created two types of disability programs -- one that makes payments to disabled individuals who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years (SSD), and one that makes payments to disabled children or adults who have not accrued sufficient work credits to qualify for SSD (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI). In general, a disabled child will qualify for SSI disability payments, but not SSD payments.

  • There is one exception to this -- if you are disabled and receiving SSD, your child may also be able to receive SSD on your earnings record (similar to the way your child can receive Social Security death benefits if you or your spouse die).

What types of disabilities qualify for benefits?

The definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration is fairly broad -- it includes just about every condition that results in "marked and severe" limitations on your child's ability to function. There are also approximately 200 different diagnosed medical conditions that can qualify your child for a more streamlined review process, allowing you to receive your child's benefits more quickly.

How much money will your child receive?

Unlike SSD benefits, which can vary and are based on the number of work credits and average salary of the applicant, SSI benefits are based on income and intended to provide a subsistence-level income for adult applicants. This means that in some situations, your own household income and other resources can render your child ineligible for these benefits.

If you're considering filing for SSI on your child's behalf, you may want to speak to a Social Security Disability attorney, who can help evaluate your most recent tax return and other financial information to determine whether your child will qualify, and if so, how much monthly income he or she will receive.

Can your child receive payments for a disability that is not expected to be permanent?

It's highly unlikely that your child will receive SSI for a temporary injury, like a broken bone or concussion -- in general, an injury has to be expected to last at least 12 months from onset or result in death. However, you're able to file for back SSI benefits to help cover your child from the onset of disability. This means that if your child went a number of months before receiving a formal diagnosis, you may be able to collect SSI for this entire period after you file.

What happens when your child turns 18?

In general, your child will need to re-file for SSI benefits as an adult in order to continue receiving benefits after turning 18. If your child is still living in your household, a portion of your income may still be "deemed" for your child's benefit -- however, if your child has moved out, he or she may be able to increase his or her SSI benefit to a level sufficient to provide for most monthly living expenses.

For more information, talk to an experienced attorney or visit http://www.johnehornattorney.com