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Intellectual disability and SSI benefits

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2015 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Some of our Los Angeles readers may be unfamiliar with the term “intellectual disability.” This is understandable, because in today’s society there are so many medical conditions that get the public’s attention that it is hard to keep them all straight. Intellectual disability refers to a condition that was, in years past, referred to as “mental retardation.”

When a person is born with mental retardation, or intellectual disability, as it is now more commonly termed, the condition can be diagnosed rather quickly. Actually, in many cases the condition can be diagnosed even before the child is born. In some of the less severe forms of this condition, the person will exhibit some intellectual function and day-to-day skills that are below-average when compared to the median functioning of a person that age. However, in the most severe forms of intellectual disability, the person will likely exhibit an extreme lack of intellectual functioning and an almost complete inability to perform simple day-to-day tasks.

When a person is born with intellectual disability, it may be possible for that child’s family to qualify to receive Supplemental Security Income on the child’s behalf. A newborn child, unlike an adult with a work history, wouldn’t be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. But this is where SSI benefits can step in.

Intellectual disability is just one of many forms of disabilities for children that could qualify a family to receive SSI benefits. There are still certain requirements that must be met, but for a family raising a child who suffers from intellectual disability, SSI benefits can prove to be a crucial form of financial assistance.

Source:, “Mental Retardation,” Accessed April 5, 2015

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