If you are the parent of a child with a severe disability, you may qualify for government benefits to help pay for his or her care. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for children under the age of 18 that takes the child’s own income into account when determining eligibility. When the SSI program evaluates your application for benefits for your disabled child, it considers the income of everyone in the household as well. If your child is approved for SSI but lives away from home in a medical facility, benefits are limited to $30 a month if his or her care is being covered by private health insurance.
In 2012, a disabled child is not allowed to earn more than $1,010 a month from all sources or the SSI application will be denied. Additionally, your child must have a severe physical or mental condition that limits his or her ability to work and provide self-care. The last qualification for SSI for children is that the condition is permanent, expected to last 12 months or longer, or expected to cause the child’s death.
When you submit an SSI application on behalf of your disabled child, you should be prepared to show a medical diagnosis that supports the definition of severe disability. You will also need to document in detail how this disability affects your child’s life on a daily basis. For example, if your child is blind, your documentation should include how he or she needs personal assistance to get dressed and complete other daily tasks.
Once you have completed your child’s SSI application, it can take three to five months to find out if he or she qualified for benefits. There are certain conditions, such as extremely low birth weight and Downs Syndrome that may entitle your child to immediate benefits.