Parents of children in Texas who are afflicted with limited mental capacities often wonder if their child might be eligible for Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration runs several programs that provide financial benefits for children who suffer from conditions such as Down syndrome, mental retardation or other conditions that severely their ability to function at work or in society.
The starting point for most benefit applications for children who suffer from disabilities is an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To be eligible for SSI benefits, a child who is not blind cannot be earning more than $1,220 per month. The earning limitation for a blind child is $2,040 per month. The child must have a medical condition or combination of conditions that cause “marked and severe functional limitations.” The condition must result in subaverage general intellectual functioning as evidence by an inability necessary to participate in standardized testing of intellectual functioning.
If a child is deemed eligible for SSI benefits, the SSA will make a periodic reassessment of his or her condition.
A second program provides benefits for those age 22 and up if their disability began before they reached that age. This program is based upon the parents’ work credits, so it is still considered a “child’s” benefit. To receive SSD benefits under these circumstances, one the applicant’s parents must already be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or one of the parents must have died. For children who have reached the age of 18, the SSA will use the same criteria to assess disability as it would if the individual were an adult.
Disability benefits for children can provide a very helpful financial benefits for their parents, but the application process can be challenging. Social Security attorneys may provide useful assistance.