Many people are familiar with using Social Security disability to receive monthly benefits when they are too sick to work at their job, but this type of benefit is also available to those who have qualifying medical conditions and is not linked to work at all. This same program covers minor children who have certain medical conditions, as long as the parents or guardians of the child have a relatively low income. Read on to learn a bit more about how you may be able to get benefits for your disabled child.
Income May Rule Out Eligibility
Before the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at your child's medical condition, you must pass the financial test. No matter how severe your child's condition, if your income is too high, you won't qualify. Once you pass the income test, the more lengthy and tedious process of verifying your child's medical condition can begin. The SSA will evaluate the parent's income in a process known as "deeming," and income that is considered available for the care of the child is considered "deemed available."
There are several factors involved in deeming, and income is only one of them. The deeming process is far too complicated to be adequately explained here, but you can be assured that the SSA caseworker assigned to you will be able to give you more details. These details are important, since you want to use every deduction from your income that is available, thereby increasing the chances of your child qualifying. Some of the main factors the SSA looks at are the number of other children that reside in your home, the amount of any child support, and any government assistance that your family is already receiving. Normally, the following forms of income and assistance is not counted toward your deeming.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; or food stamps)
- TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)
- Foster care payments
- Veteran pensions
Not only income is considered when it comes to deeming, but family assets are evaluated as well. Savings accounts and investment accounts are counted as an asset that may be available for the care of the child. The family home and car, however, are exempt and not counted toward deeming.
Income and Benefit Fluctuations
It's important to understand that once your child has been approved for benefits, your monthly income must always be reported. This means that your child's eligibility for a certain month can be affected either with a reduced benefit amount or by a loss of benefits altogether. On the other hand, some changes could result in a higher benefit, such as a parent dying or leaving the home. If the child leaves the family home for anything but a temporary time period, the loss of benefits could occur.
Be sure to discuss your concerns about getting your child covered for this valuable benefit with a local Social Security attorney such as those found at Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law.