According to data from the U.S. Census, over three million American children, approximately four percent of children, live with a disability.
Disabled children require more time, money, and resources to take care of, which can create an immense strain on the family. Luckily, there are federal programs to alleviate that strain on parents and caregivers.
Learn about children’s Social Security benefits, who qualifies, how you can apply, and how Montagna Law can support you and your family members while you fight for your child. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 877-622-8100.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be paid to kids, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be paid to disabled adult children (DAC) based on their parents’ work record and their disability status. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has its own definition of disability, and each benefit program for dependent children has criteria that need to be met. A child is considered disabled and eligible for benefits if they:
In some cases, a child with a medical condition or mental condition that qualifies for a disability can be eligible to receive SSDI. Either way, once they turn 22, they may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits if they become disabled or continue to meet eligibility.
Working with a Virginia Social Security Disability benefits attorney can evaluate any potential child benefits, see if you meet eligibility under federal guidelines, and make certain you file the correct paperwork for dependents benefits.
For your child to qualify for Social Security Disability in Virginia, during the application process, you must follow federal guidelines and rules for filing.
The first thing the SSA will look at is if the disabled adult child is legally yours, whether by blood, adopted, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step-grandchild. The next eligibility benchmark will be to determine if your child is disabled under the above-noted federal definition of disability.
If so, then the SSA will consider your household income and resources to ensure they fall within the eligibility limits. State eligibility will vary, and in Virginia, a team consisting of a staff physician or clinical psychologist, along with a professionally trained analyst, will determine if your child is disabled.
Once your child is approved to be qualified for Social Security disability and your family meets low-income thresholds, you can move forward with your application.
Aside from not meeting the definition of having a disability as outlined by the SSA, there are a few other reasons that may lead to your child’s disqualification from receiving Social Security disability. In Virginia, the amount of potential benefits your family can receive for your child is determined by the federal Deeming Eligibility Chart. Not all states follow the same formula and may have their own criteria, but Virginia uses the federal model.
The formula considers how many parents are in the household, the amount of parents’ gross monthly income, and if any type of income can be discounted (e.g., receiving money for providing foster care to an ineligible child). Other factors that may disqualify your child from receiving a disability benefit under a “child’s” status are if they:
Additional factors that may disqualify is in a scenario where more than one child applies for or is receiving disability benefits or if the state supplements the federal benefit. Virginia does not supplement federal disability benefits for children.
A child can collect SSI benefits from birth to 18 years old. An exception is if they are a full-time elementary or high school student until they are 19 years old or have a qualifying disability. Once they reach adulthood, they can still receive disability benefits under the SSDI program.
The disability must have begun before they turned 22 years old. SSDI is considered to be a “child’s” benefit program because benefits are calculated on the child’s parents’ Social Security earnings record. Under federal law, it does not matter if the DAC has ever worked since the government calculates benefits based on the parent’s earnings record. There are other stipulations the parents must meet. It is a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable Virginia Social Security disability attorney.
Since children or legally incompetent adults do not manage their own money, a representative payee handles this task. This is a person, organization, agency, or institution the SSA selects to manage benefits. Alternatively, the federal agency may designate a person to serve as a representative payee. This important role is usually filled by a:
The representative payee will be held accountable for managing benefits and is required to present an accounting report indicating where SSA benefits were spent and/or how much was saved. They also are required to report any changes that may impact benefits eligibility.
Yes, there are limitations to how a child’s SSI payments can be used. The representative payee’s responsibilities include managing benefits and acting in the recipient’s best interests. They ensure the individual receiving disability benefits receives food, clothing, medical care, housing, and personal comfort items. Any residual money goes into an account, usually an interest-bearing account, such as a savings or certificate of deposit.
Contact our legal team at no cost to better understand how to use your child’s SSI payments.
Yes, if your child receives SSI or Medicaid, you are allowed to purchase one car. Raising a child with disabilities usually involves many trips to healthcare facilities, therapies, and other vital appointments. It is important to have a good, reliable vehicle. The rules with SSDI are different in this respect.
When you file your taxes, you do not have to include your child’s benefit amount as income. Even if the disability benefit funds are deposited into your account, you do not have to claim them. Disability benefits are only taxable to your child if they are required to file a return, which will depend upon their income level, which might include wages or taxable scholarships.
Being prepared and having the required documentation ready will better your chances of having a comprehensive application put together. Documents you will need to include are:
You will also need to answer questions and submit names, Social Security numbers, and other information when applying for disability benefits. You will also likely need to fill out a Child Disability Report.
Working with a Virginia Social Security disability attorney can help alleviate stress and help you complete your application. An experienced lawyer understands the SSA and its requirements. Other responsibilities they can manage include:
Filing for child disability benefits requires plenty of work and time. Your attorney can work to see that your family gets the resources you need. For instance, Montagna Law will build a strong case for SSI disability benefits — our attorneys know how to build a case that avoids delays. If you receive a denial of benefits, we will quickly file an appeal. Schedule a free consultation today to see what we can do for you.
The attorney-client relationship is very important to our law firm. We take pride in providing our clients with high-quality service. The feedback we routinely receive from them is positive.
“When I called and spoke with Katy, she right of way made me feel comfortable and not so scared about the process. Thank you so very much… I still recommend this firm.” -Elena F.
“I love the time that Mr. Klein took with my disability case. I won cause of his dedication.” -Veronica T.
“If you’re looking for someone who’s professional, attentive, serious, caring, and negotiable then Mr. Anthony Montagna is who you need. He understood his assignment and delivered well especially being with what I was looking at in my case. I want to again thank Mr. Montagna and Kelly for being there for me. Will definitely be spreading his name around.” -Tiara S.
Caring for a child who has a disabling condition, regardless of age, presents challenges. Obtaining financial assistance in the form of disability payments can go a long way in helping your child and household get what they need. The caring and compassionate attorneys at Montagna Law are here for you to support you and provide help.
We proudly serve the entire Hampton Roads area. To schedule a free consultation to learn more about getting a monthly benefit for your child, contact us at 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.