Disability Benefits Rules Differ for Children

In many ways the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) definition of “disabled” is standard. The SSA will use the same definition and listing of disabilities (see Monday’s discussion on the Blue Book) whether you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. Many state agencies use the same or a similar standard. One way in which the disability process differs, though, is in how the SSA evaluates adults with disabilities versus how it evaluates children with disabilities.

For adults, disability evaluation focuses on whether you are unable to work for at least a year. The Social Security Blue Book provides a listing of disabilities for which you can receive disability benefits, but the listing does not cover everything. If you suffer from something not on the list, yet are still unable to work for at least a year, you may be eligible for disability benefits nevertheless. Further details on qualifying for disability benefits are available from a Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney.

For children, work cannot, of course, be the determining factor. The SSA focuses more on what children can do as compared with others in their peer group. The standard is that the disability results in “marked and severe functional limitations.”

The SSA takes into account the fact that certain medical conditions have a greater impact when they occur to children whose bodies and minds are still developing. Even when a medical condition falls under the same section for both adults and children, the SSA’s evaluation for children often varies from that of adults.

Consider the disability category of “mental disorders,” for instance. Most of the mental disorders are found in both the adult section and the children’s section, including schizophrenia, somatoform disorders, mental retardation and autism. But, with children, the SSA acknowledges other disorders that could also have a strong impact on them. These mental disorders limited to children include separation anxiety, failure to bond with parents, and other development problems that occur in newborns and the very young.

Have you had a child receive disability benefits? How would you describe the evaluation process for others who hope to receive financial assistance?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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