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Obtaining SSI benefits for children

Houston parents whose child is either blind or disabled may not be aware of financial assistance that is available under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and it provides financial assistance for children suffering from conditions that prevent them from working.

To receive SSI benefits, a child must be either blind or disabled. A child is anyone under the age of 18 or under the age of 22 and regularly attending school. Blindness is defined as a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye or a visual field limitation in the better eye that restricts vision to an angle of no greater than 20 degrees. Disability for a child is defined as a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that causes marked and severe functional limitations and can be expected to either result in death or persist for at least 12 months. When the child reaches the age of 18, the SSA evaluates the disability according to the definitions that apply to adults.

The SSA will review all income that is available in the child's home. Part of this process is called "deeming." In the "deeming" process, the SSA may allocate a portion of the parents' income to the child, that is, part of the parents' income will be deemed to belong to the child. This process may reduce the amount of SSI benefits that are paid to the child.

Determining whether a child is eligible for SSI benefits may seem relatively simple, but the calculation of benefits may be complex. Anyone who has questions about applying for SSI benefits for a child or calculating the amount of the monthly benefit may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling SSI benefit claims.

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