Overview of Disability

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Disability Requirements

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Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

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SSDRC Disability Blog

How to apply for social security disability SSI benefits for children

Initiating the application process for disability benefits for children (note: minor-age children actually file under title 16, which is the SSI, or supplemental security income, program) is identical to the process used to begin to claims for adults.

Claims are begun in local social security offices where adult claimants, or parents of child claimants, supply all the information that is necessary to process the claim. After the disability application has been taken, it is transferred to a separate agency where it is assigned to a disability examiner. This individual will usually begin the process by requesting the claimants medical records.

In the case of minor-age children, the records requests may involve medical records only, particularly if the child's alleged impairments are only physical in nature. However, in cases where emotional, cognitive, or learning difficulties are alleged, the disability examiner will typically attempt to gather additional records from the child's school.

Children's cases are evaluated differently from adult cases in one basic sense: for adults to qualify for disability benefits, it must be proven that the claimant possesses a severe impairment that renders them unable to engage in substantial gainful work activity, including work they have done in the past and work they might otherwise be considered capable to switching to, for at least one full year; children, on the other hand, may be considered if they have a severe impairment which prevents their ability to engage in age-appropriate activities.

Age appropriate activities for children

Age-appropriate activities for children, of course, will differ substantially from the normal daily activities of adults. However, because attendance in school--and all the things that correlate with school attendance such as academic performance and social interactions--is such a prominent factor in the life of a child, the social security administration tends to focus heavily on records obtained from a child's school or schools.

Those records include the results of achievement testing, intelligence testing, grade reports, individual education plans. Important records can even include questionaires from a child's teachers since teachers are the chief evaluators and observers of school-age children.

Note: While teacher questionaires provide strong and relevant information regarding a child's abilities to engage in age-appropriate activities, the social security administration, through its disability examiners, does not typically send such questionaires to teachers when cases are processed.

This is similar to the position taken by SSA on residual functional capacity forms for adults which are used internally by SSA-employed physicians but which, oddly enough, are never sent to the actual doctors of a claimant.

Both child and adult claims obviously suffer due to such practices and one can argue that the social security administration does not send such forms to teachers and treating physicians because doing so would tip the scales in the favor of claimants, resulting in more benefits being paid out.

Attorneys send forms that SSA will not

Residual functional capacity forms for adults and teacher questionaires for child claimants are often sent out by disability attorneys and representatives, usually in cases in which the claimant has been denied at the disability application level, again denied at the reconsideration appeal level, and the claimant's case is now positioned for a hearing before a federal disability judge (administrative law judge).

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
Filing an Application for Disability Benefits under SSD or SSI - Step by Step
Tips on how to file for disability
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
What happens after I file my disability claim with Social Security?
What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
If you get denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made
SSI disability rule concerning living arrangements and shared household expenses

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria