Child Disability Starter Kit - Fact Sheet
What You Should Know When You Apply for
SSI Disability Benefits for Your Child
Children from birth up to age 18 may get Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) benefits. They must be disabled and they must have
little or no income and resources. Here are answers to some questions
people ask about applying for SSI for children.
How does Social
Security decide if a child is disabled?
Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children.
- The child must have a physical or mental condition(s)
that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
- The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to
last, at least 1 year or result in death.
A state agency makes the disability decision. They review the information you give
us. They will also ask for information from medical and school sources
and other people who know
about the child.
If the state agency needs more information, they will arrange
an examination or test for the child, which we will pay for.
How can I get ready for the disability
- Review this disability starter kit. It includes a checklist
and a worksheet to help you gather the information you need. Have
this information with you at the time of the interview.
- If you have access to the Internet, you
can complete an online Child Disability Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/childdisabilityreport.
more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/ or
call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or
hard of hearing, call TTY 1-800-325-0778).
How does Social Security decide if a
child can get SSI?
Children can get SSI if they meet Social Security’s definition
of disability for children and if they have little or no income
and resources. We also consider the family’s household
income, resources and other personal information.
How will I know what Social Security has
We will send you a letter. It can take 3 to 5 months to decide
a child’s SSI disability claim. Let us know if your address
or telephone number changes so that we can get in touch with you.
Will my personal information be kept
Yes. Social Security protects the privacy of those we serve.
As a federal agency, we are required by the Privacy Act of 1974
(5 U.S.C. 522a) to protect the information we get from you.
What if I am more comfortable speaking in
a language other than English?
We provide free interpreter services to help you conduct your
Social Security business.
Other Important Information
SSI is not a medical assistance program. Your state Medicaid
agency, local health department, social services office or hospital
can help you find your nearest health care agencies. Your Social
Security office can also help you find health care agencies.
Medicaid is a health care program for people with low incomes and
limited assets. In most states, children who get SSI benefits can
also get Medicaid. Even if your child cannot get SSI, he or she
may be able to get Medicaid. Your state Medicaid agency, your local
Social Security office or your state or county social services office
can give you more information.
State Children's Health Insurance Program
Children may be able to get health insurance from SCHIP even if
they do not get SSI. SCHIP provides
health insurance to children from working families with incomes
too high to get Medicaid, but who cannot afford private health
insurance. SCHIP provides insurance for prescription drugs and
for vision, hearing and mental health services in all 50 states
and the District of Columbia. Your state Medicaid agency can provide
more information about SCHIP. You can also go to www.insurekidsnow.gov/ or call toll free 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669) for more information
on your state’s program.
Other Health Care Services
If the child is under age 16 and we decide he or she is disabled
and can get SSI, we will refer him or her to your state children’s
agencies for social, developmental, educational and medical services.
Even if the child cannot get SSI, these state agencies may be able
to help him or her.
Work Opportunities for Young People Who
are Getting SSI
Many young people who get SSI disability benefits want to work.
The following information may be helpful.
- We do not count most of a child’s earnings when
we figure the SSI payment. We count even less of a child’s
earnings if the child is a student.
- We subtract the cost of certain items and services
that a child needs to work from his or her earnings in figuring
the SSI payment.
- If a child is age 15 or older, he or she can establish
a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS). With a PASS,
a child can set aside income for a work goal. We will not count
this income when we figure the SSI payment.
- A child’s Medicaid coverage can continue even
if his or her earnings are high enough to stop SSI payment,
as long as the earnings are under a certain amount.
has two programs that can assist young people who get SSI
disability benefits and want to go to work:
- Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach
(BPAO) program, and
- Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of
Social Security (PABSS) program.
Your local Social Security office can provide more information
about these programs. You can also find more information on our
Work website, www.socialsecurity.gov/work/.