When a child is disabled, dealing with the disability can put an enormous strain on that child's family, both emotionally and financially. Often, these disabilities persist throughout the child's life, and the added stress goes right along with it. Many parents are unaware of the federal programs that exist to provide for disabled children, which aim to help with the added financial burdens that usually go hand in hand with a disability.
There are two programs that exist to provide financial support to disabled children and their families. For both programs, the disability must render the child unable to perform any substantial income-earning work, and must have an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year.
The first program is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which covers children from birth up to the age of 18. Under this program, children who suffer from physical or mental disabilities or who are blind may receive monthly payments if they meet certain qualifications. First, a child seeking to receive SSI must have a condition or combination of conditions that fulfills the definition of disability for children, as set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Second, the income and other financial resources of the child and his or her family must be within the limits set by the SSA.
The second program for disabled children is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which covers adult children over the age of 18 who suffer from a physical or mental disability. To qualify for SSDI, an adult child must have a condition that fulfills the definition of disability for adults, and the disability must have impaired the adult child before the age of 22. In addition, the adult child's parent must have worked long enough to be insured under Social Security, and must either be deceased or receive disability or retirement benefits.
Source: NewsOK.com, "Social Security Q&A: Disabled children qualify for benefits", 28 November 2010