Some children are born with congenital conditions or acquire a birth injury due to complications during labor. Other children fall ill or get hurt during childhood. When a child has special needs, the whole family has to help support them.
Given how expensive it is to hire nursing help in home and also how professional caregivers can become abusive, many parents decide to have family members provide the support for a child with special needs.
That decision might mean forgoing the income previously earned by one parent while also needing to absorb numerous expenses for health care and accommodations, like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or modifications to your home.
There are federal benefits available
Some families don’t realize that Social Security might help them. Social Security can help support children with disabling medical conditions. Although people have to make contributions to the program to get benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), no contributions are necessary for someone to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
That means that even children with disabilities can qualify for these benefits, which can help cover their care costs and improve the family’s standard of living.
What are the qualifications for a child to receive SSI?
A child has a disabling medical condition when they have health issues that will last for a year or longer and that significantly impair their daily functions. The more support and medical care they need, the more likely they are to qualify for SSI benefits. The family will also have to meet the strict limitations for private assets and current income.
What financial matters are subject to scrutiny?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at the documents regarding the child’s disability and the household’s finances. They will look at earned and unearned income, as well as in-kind income, which can include family support and donations from your church or neighbors.
A small amount of income, certain government benefits and even some kinds of support from nonprofit organizations will not count against your family. However, everything from car insurance payouts to bank account balances can influence whether your family qualifies or not.
SSI benefits can help families offset the financial impact of having a child with special needs and a parent taking care of that child and forgoing income. Learning more about SSI benefits and getting help when preparing your paperwork to apply could increase your chances of getting the support that your family qualifies for and needs.