Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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What SSI benefits may children receive?

Beneficiaries in New Jersey receive monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits when they have low income and limited resources and are at least 65, or who have a disability or blindness. Children under 18 may also receive SSI benefits if they have a mental ailment, a physical ailment or both that meet the legal definition of a childhood disability and their income and resources do not exceed certain levels set by the Social Security Administration (SSA.)

The SSA will examine what financial resources, including any income of either the child or those who live with the child, into account when determining whether to award SSI benefits. SSI benefits are limited to $30.00 each month when the child is receiving care in a medical facility which is being paid for by health insurance.

To be eligible, the child cannot make more than a certain amount of income. In 2017, this limit was set at $1,170 monthly. In addition, the child needs to be suffering from either a mental ailment, a physical ailment, or both that severely affect the child's functional limitations and are marked, meaning they cause a significant limitation in the activities the child is able to participate in. The child's condition needs to be disabling or expected to remain disabling for at least one year or be fatal.

The SSA reviews detailed medical information about the child's disability and their impact on performing daily activities. School records may also have to be provided. New Jersey's Office of Disability Determination Services will review that information to determine whether eligibility criteria are met. It may also request a medical examination at its own expense.

It may take three to six months to determine eligibility requirements were met. However, the SSA may make immediate payments, which may last up to six months for certain qualifying disabilities. These include HIV infection combined with other ailments, muscular dystrophy, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, total blindness or deafness, severe intellectual disability if the child is at least four years old or birth weight below specified pounds. These payments do not have to be returned if it is determined that the child is ultimately ineligible for SSI.

The SSA may conduct periodic eligibility reviews of eligibility after benefits are provided. Evidence must show that the disability still severely restricts the child's everyday activities and that the child is undergoing the required medical care with regards to that condition.

Applying for SSI benefits may be complicated. An attorney may assist children and their families with seeking these benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Benefits for children with disabilities," Accessed April 11, 2017

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