Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be available for children under 18 if they have disabilities that make them eligible. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may also be available for adults who were disabled as children prior to age 22.

Navigating the Social Security system can be complicated, but here are four things you need to know about SSI benefits for children:

  1. The child’s income and resources, along with the income and resources of all household members, is used to determine eligibility. This is the case when the child is living at home, according to the Social Security Administration. If the child is living in a medical treatment center, the maximum SSI payment is typically $30 (if insurance is paying for the child’s care).
  2. The determination for eligibility make take as long as five months. However, some ailments may result in immediate payments. These ailments include HIV, total blindness, total deafness, cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, among others. SSI payments may be made for up to six months while your child’s eligibility is being determined. If it is determined that your child doesn’t qualify for SSI, you will not have to pay back this money.
  3. SSI benefits vary by state. Some states add to the benefits your child may receive. The best way to find out what your child may qualify for in California is to check with your local Social Security office or with an attorney in the area.
  4. The law requires that your child’s disability be reviewed periodically. This applies whether your child’s condition is expected to get better or not. When your child’s disability is reviewed, you must show proof that the condition still limits the child’s day-to-day activities.

While the process to apply for SSI may seem difficult, it is important to provide as much information about your child’s condition as possible. It is likely that the state agency will ask for medical or school records. You will need to show how the disability affects your child’s daily activities. Gather the important documents and take them with you when you apply for benefits.

For more information or for help applying for benefits, don’t hesitate to contact a Social Security Disability lawyer.