Why are Disability Cases Involving Children More Likely to be Denied?

Continued from: What are the Chances of Being Approved for a Child who is Filing for Disability?

Why are disability cases involving children more likely to be denied?

One observation is that a good percentage of child disability cases involve mental and behavioral issues like ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder), or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). In cases like this, the school records are often lacking.

However, even when social security (or a disability lawyer who is preparing for a hearing) has been able to obtain good documentation--in the form of grade reports, specialized IQ and achievement testing, and even completed questionaires from the child's teachers--the medical records that are obtained often fail to support a prognosis that indicates continued difficulties.

Or, the records fail to support a certain severity level by demonstrating that the child is prescribed medication, and that both the child and the parents of the child are being compliant with the use of the medication.

On the other hand, when children file for disability on the basis of physical problems, this is often done based on conditions that can be more severe at an earlier age, and less severe as the child gets older. This is commonly true when a disability application is filed for a child who has asthma or seizure disorder. It is not at all uncommon for these conditions to remiss (get better) as the child gets older.

Also, to qualify for disability when the claim is primarily based on asthma or seizures, it is usually helpful to have asthma attacks or seizure episodes documented. However, not every attack results in a doctor or hospital visit. And not very many parents track the history of their children's attacks by recording them in a journal (self-recorded documentation, such as in a journal, can provide a disability judge with the information needed to sway a case toward an approval).

As to the approval chances of a child filing for disability, the only thing that can be said is that a higher percentage of child disability cases will be denied at the initial level.

Therefore, this would mean at 70-75 percent would be denied. However, the high rate of denial does not mean that parents should not file on behalf of their children. They should simply do so knowing that the chances of disability benefit approval will be higher when the child's condition, or conditions, is supported by a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional and that the medical evidence on a disability claim and/or school records indicate the existence of substantial limitations that seriously impair the child from being able to engage in the same activities as their age-appropriate peers.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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