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Down syndrome and Supplemental Security Income

Most of our Los Angeles area readers have heard of Down syndrome before. But, like most people throughout the country, our readers may not know exactly what this disability entails, or how families caring for a family member who has Down syndrome could qualify for Supplemental Security Income.

First and foremost, Down syndrome is the result of a genetic alteration that occurs at the very earliest stages of life. Put simply, a person with Down syndrome has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. That may not sound like much, but this genetic alteration can result in extra difficulty for the person who ultimately is born with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is actually somewhat common, relatively speaking. Statistics show that about one in every 700 newborns in the U.S. has Down syndrome. Currently, there are about 400,000 people in the U.S. who have this genetic alteration.

The good news is that people who have Down syndrome are finding more and more ways to integrate into the day-to-day fabric of society. For some of these individuals, it just takes a bit more time to do a task. Or, for others, some concepts need to be explained in different ways - orally for some, in writing for others, and so on. In many cases, this means that extra financial resources need to be devoted to taking the time that is needed to allow the individual to live their life. For families that include an individual with Down syndrome, qualifying for SSI benefits can provide an extra layer of financial security.

Source: www.ndss.org, "What Is Down Syndrome?," accessed on March 22, 2015

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