Is my daughter eligible to receive Social Security since she has been diagnosed with ADHD?

I am trying to find out if my 7 year old daughter is eligible to receive Social Security since she has been diagnosed with ADHD?

First of all, I should point out that a diagnosis of any medical condition including ADHD will not necessarily mean that a person is eligible for disability benefits. A diagnosis by itself carries little weight with the Social Security Administration. To be approved, a person must have functional limitations, mental or physical, or both, that either prevent them from being able to work and earn a substantial and gainful income, or, in the case of children, must interfere with their ability to engage in age-appropriate activites.

Minor-age children can receive disability in their own right through the SSI program. SSI (supplemental security income) disability claims are evaluated in exactly the same manner as SSD, or Social Security Disability, claims.

This means that after a claim has been taken by a CR, or claims representative at a local Social Security office, the claim is transferred to a disability examiner at a state-level agency (known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services). At the state agency, medical records are requested. In cases involving children, school records are usually requested as well.

Once the records have been obtained, the examiner will determine if the claimant satisfies the Social Security Administration's definition of disability by either meeting what is known as a listing, or by being approved through the medical vocational allowance approval process.

SSI determinations are conducted the same as SSD determinations. However, there are non-medical criteria differences. SSI, because it is based on need, has non-medical requirements pertaining to income and assets. To qualify to receive disability benefits, your daughter would have to be found medically disabled but your household would also have to meet income and resource limits. And you would be screened for this as part of the initial process before the case is even sent to a disability examiner. If, for instance, your family had income or assets that exceeded the allowable limits, the claim would not even be medically evaluated. As I said, the program is based on need. I hope this answers your question.

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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