As this blog has discussed before, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI benefits, are available to Houston residents who are of limited income and means and who are disabled, blind or over age 65.
These benefits are also available to children under 18. In fact, many Texas parents will need to rely on Supplemental Security Income in order to help them cover the expenses of raising a child who has special needs.
As with anyone who applies for SSI, the child’s family will have to demonstrate financial need. In this respect, even though the child may not make any income of his or her own, the Social Security Administration may still consider the income and assets of a child’s household.
Perhaps more importantly, the child’s family will have to demonstrate that the child has a legal disability. The Administration’s process for determining whether a child is disabled works a little bit differently than does the process for deciding whether an adult is disabled.
For instance, a child under 18 would probably not have an extensive work history and would not be expected to have developed job skills.
Therefore, the Administration will instead review the child’s medical history and decide whether the child’s condition leaves the child with what the law describes as marked and severe functional limitations.
What exactly is a marked and severe limitation can prove to be a complicated question that will depend on the circumstances and, in some cases, the judgment of the official making the decision. This is one reason why a Texas family who is interested in obtaining benefits for their disabled child will want to speak with a professional.