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    We are considering adopting a 5-year little girl that is receiving SSI benefits due to mental retardation. Through adoption would she still qualify for SSI benefits? Will this benefit be determined by our income?
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, the child must have below a certain level of income and resources.  The income and resources (such as bank accounts) of both you and your husband will be counted as resources for the child, and the child’s adoption subsidy will also be counted.

     My 3 year old son has Down Syndrome.  He has been receiving SSI since February 2003, because I had to leave my job to care for him.  He has a heart defect and several other feeding and breathing issues that make it difficult for me to work.  Financially qualifying for SSI, and therefore Medicaid, has saved my son's life.  We could barely pay our medical bills before qualifying for Medicaid.  We actually had to refuse necessary tests because we couldn't afford them!  Also, we could not find a sitter who wanted to care for a medically fragile child.  Now that I am home with my son anyway, we are considering adopting another child with Down Syndrome.  He is about the same age as my son and also has medical issues.  His birth mother doesn't want him.  If we adopt this child will the child's adoption subsidy (AAP) interfere with my son's eligibility for SSI?   This is very important because I would love to help this child, but can't risk losing SSI/Medicaid eligibility.
     The adoption subsidy of your adoptive child will not count as income and resources for your biological child; therefore, it will not affect your biological child’s SSI.  The adoption subsidy will, however, be count as income and resources for you adoptive child; therefore, it may affect whether or not the adoptive child qualifies for SSI.


     Are SSI benefits available to my preschooler who has some speech problems and vocal cord nodules?
     Vocal cord nodules are evaluated in terms of their effects on speech.  Speech problems have to be very severe to be considered disabling. 
The Social Security Administration takes into consideration audibility; a person must be able to speak loud enough for others to hear him or her.  The Social Security Administration also considers intelligibility; a person must be able to speak clearly enough for others to understand him or her.  The Social Security Administration also considers functional efficiency; the person must be able to produce and sustain speech that is of an adequate speed without too many hesitations or interruptions.  If the person's speech fails in any one of these areas, then the person is considered disabled. You also must have to have below a certain level of income and resources in order to apply for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits for your child.

     I am writing because I am not sure weather I should even apply for SSI disability benefits for my 2-year-old son. He has Stickler Syndrome. It is a connective tissue disorder that involves the eyes, ears, heart and joints. He has teachers come almost weekly and he still cannot speak.  He has very poor vision, and I was told he is legally blind without his glasses. Where do I start? Should I bother if my husband makes good money? He makes a lot because he works a lot of overtime. Do they go by this or his base pay?
     SSI is a need-based program.  The parents of the child must have below a certain level of income and resources to qualify.  SSA looks at all of the parents’ income and resources—not just base pay.  Let me suggest you call or visit your local SSA office and tell them how much your husband is earning per month, how much money you have in the bank, and any other financial resources that you have.  The claims representative should be able to tell you pretty quickly if you have too much income and resource to qualify, and then you will know for sure.  

     My son has been diagnosed with ADHD. I have been fighting with social security on getting him some SSI benefits, and am getting ready for the court hearing on it. I have heard that they are first supposed to at least send them to one of their psychologists before denying them. Is this true? And can you give me any advise on how to try to win this case so he can at least get some kind of medical coverage? 
     No, SSA does not have to send him to a psychologist before denying his case.  SSA obtains all existing medical records.  If theses records provide enough information to make a decision, then SSA makes its decision.  If existing medical records do not provide enough information, then SSA sends the person to an examination.  The administrative law judge may still choose to send him for additional examinations or testing, but the  judge doesn't have to do so.  Years ago, many SSI cases of children with ADHD were allowed.  Currently, due to changes in the regulations and laws, children with ADHD are rarely found to be disabled.  Please, see the following articles on this site to see what kind of information the administrative law judge will be considering when making his or her decision: Mental Conditions in Children Applying for SSI Disability Benefits and School Records and Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits.

     The following two questions come from different readers but have the same answer:
     My son is a 11 years old and has insulin dependant diabetes. Can we apply for SSI for him as the parents of our son?


     My nine year old daughter was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She has to have insulin shots in the morning, at lunch if needed, and at dinnertime. We have to carry her monitor with her when we go anywhere. In school she has to monitor her levels at activity time and before lunch.  She will always be on insulin which she has to inject with a needle. Does she qualify for any kind of disability benefits? 
Parents of minor children can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children under the age of 18.  SSI is a need-based program.  This means that the child’s parents must have below a certain level of income and resources to qualify.  Call your local SSA office to find out if your income and resources meet this requirement.  Insulin dependant diabetes mellitus certainly has a profound influence on the lives of its victims.  The patient must follow a rigid diet, take finger stick blood samples to monitor to blood sugar levels, and take injections of insulin.  This is particularly difficult for children.  However, SSA does not consider insulin dependant diabetes by itself to be disabling.  Insulin dependant diabetes mellitus can certainly cause disabling conditions.  For example, a diabetic who is on dialysis due to diabetes-related kidney failure, a diabetic who cannot walk due to diabetic neuropathy, and a diabetic who has his or her leg amputated due to diabetic complications are all considered disabled.  Please, see my article Diabetes Mellitus and Disability Benefits for a detailed description of how SSA evaluates diabetes and what complications of diabetes are considered disabling.

     To see more questions and answers about children's claims for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, click here.






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