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What Are the Income Limits for Social Security Disability for a Child?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) distributes financial support to people in every stage of life who live with qualified disabilities. While most of us think about Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and Supplement Security Income (SSI) in the context of disabled adults, children with disabilities are eligible for those same benefits under a program designed especially for them and their circumstances.
The guidelines for child disability payments are different from those used to determine benefit eligibility for adults. This article explains how a child qualifies for disability benefit payments and what income limits apply to families seeking to obtain those benefits for a child.
The benefit payments to a child with a disability come from the Supplement Security Income program, not the SSD program associated with disabled workers.
If your child suffers from a disability that substantially limits their activities, an experienced SSD lawyer can help you get your child the disability payments they deserve. M.J. Ellis Disability Law is New Jersey’s premier professional SSD and SSI lawyer. Mary Jean Ellis has represented children with disabilities successfully for years, earning them and their loving families the financial support they deserve to provide for their disability-related needs.
How Does the Child Disability Benefits Program Work?
The benefits program for children with disabilities is intended to provide some additional support to families whose financial burden is especially heavy due to the added expenses related to caring for a child with a severe disability.
These families often need to limit their own work outside the home to care for the child, diminishing their income. Some childhood disabilities require in-home nursing care or personal aides that families can’t afford to provide themselves. In addition to the cost of personal care, children with disabilities often require specially adapted equipment, custom wheelchairs, supportive breathing apparatus, and other items.
Applying for the child’s benefits is a task the parents or responsible adult must perform before the child’s disability benefits are approved.
What Are the Income Limits for a Child to Be Eligible for Supplemental Security Benefits?
Child disability benefits are part of the SSI program which is a needs-based model that considers both income and financial resources available to applicants when determining eligibility for payments. As young children are dependent on adults for everything, the parent’s or responsible adult’s income is deemed available to the child for purposes of assessing if they can receive SSI benefits.
For older children who may be working, the 2021 income limit for a disabled sighted child is $1,310 per month. A blind child who is working can not earn more than $2,190. Since these limits change every year, you should consult with an experienced SSD lawyer who practices SSI law every day for their expert guidance.
For parents of disabled children, the income limits are more variable, based on the number of other children without a disability who may be living in the home.
The category of income also is considered; it matters if the income is earned or unearned. Unearned income is any income from other government assistance programs, rent subsidies, food assistance either from government or nonprofit organizations, interest income on certain accounts.
For a single-parent family with a disabled child, the earned income limit is $3,301 per month. If the single parent has another child who is ineligible for benefits, then the monthly income limit is $3,698. With each additional ineligible child in the household, the income level rises until with six other children ineligible for benefits, the single-parent family could earn up to $5,683 and still have a child eligible for SSI payments.
For a two-parent family, the income limit with only the disabled child in the home is $4,095 per month. If there is one other ineligible child in the home, then the income cap is $4,492. Again, the monthly income limit climbs with each additional child in the home until with six other children, the income limit is $6,477 a month.
If the single parent’s only income is unearned income, then the monthly income cap is as low as $1,628 and as high as $4,010, depending on the number of other ineligible kids who live with them. Two-parent households with only unearned income are limited to a low $2,025 for only the disabled child, and a cap of $4,047 with six other children.
How is a Child’s Disability is Determined?
The qualifying standard for childhood disability for SSI benefits differs from that used to determine if an adult is disabled. In an adult case, the person applying for SSD needs to be suffering from a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents them from performing a substantial gainful activity. This obviously would not work to assess a child’s benefits eligibility.
A child is qualified for SSD or SSI benefits if they have “a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, that results in ‘marked and severe functional limitations.’” The impairment of the child due to the condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months or result in the child’s premature death. An expert Social Security Disability lawyer is knowledgeable about all the available SSI benefits available for disabled children.
The decision of whether a child’s disability qualifies for SSI benefit payments is made by you’re the child’s home state Disability Determination Service, just as decisions in adult cases are made.
The benefit eligibility decision normally takes months to be made. If there is a delay, back payments will be paid, just as with adult disability cases. But some child disability cases qualify for immediate payments.
A professional SSD attorney whose practice specializes in SSI law will fully inform you about the Social Security Disability benefits your child qualifies for.