Qualifying for SSI

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a Federal income supplement program. These funds come from tax revenues rather than social security revenue. SSI provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. To get SSI, you must:

  • be age 65 or older; or
  • be totally or partially blind; or
  • have a medical condition that keeps you from working and is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

The Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help has shared the following article to help you learn more about SSI benefits.

How to Qualify for SSI with an Intellectual Disability

Disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program requires an employment history. This unfortunately means many children and adults with intellectual disabilities are unable to qualify for SSDI. They may however meet eligibility rules for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI is need-based, with no work history requirements, only medical and financial eligibility rules.

Applying on Behalf of a Minor Child

If you’re applying for benefits on behalf of a minor child with an intellectual disability, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) must look at the financial circumstances of the entire household. Family size, income, and other factors influence eligibility decisions. This in turn means many kids with intellectual disabilities are able to receive the support they need through the SSI program.

Your son or daughter’s application will be reviewed by the SSA under the listing in Blue Book section 112.05 to determine medical eligibility. If your child’s medical records meet this listing, he or she is medically eligible for SSI. This listing requires a low IQ or cognitive functioning along with deficits in physical or functional abilities, like toileting, dressing, eating, communicating, or interacting socially.  

Applying for Yourself as an Adult

If you’re applying for benefits as an adult with an intellectual disability, then only your own finances will be reviewed by the SSA. The only exception to this is if you have a husband or wife. In that case, the SSA may need to look at your spouse’s money and financial resources, too.

Medically qualifying as an adult with an intellectual disability means you must meet the SSA’s disability listing in section 12.05. This listing requires you have decreased cognitive and other functioning, including a low IQ score and a hard time taking care of yourself, interacting with others, or adapting to new situations or circumstances.  

Applying on Behalf of an Adult Child

If you have an adult child with an intellectual disability, he or she may be able to receive SSI benefits. Adult children with disabilities can sometimes qualify under their parents’ work history records, allowing them to receive SSDI instead of or in addition to SSI. The SSA can help you figure out what benefits your son or daughter may be eligible to receive.

Keep in mind that the SSA will use the adult disability listing to review your adult child’s claim, even if he or she is entirely dependent on you. That listing is the one that appears in Section 12.05.

Other Disability Listings the SSA May Consider

Most children and adults with severe intellectual deficits will meet the SSA’s listings in 112.05 or 12.05. There are however several other listings that the SSA could consult when reviewing an application for benefits. For example, if your child has Down syndrome, the SSA may use the listing in 110.00 or 10.00 instead.  Your doctor can help you understand which disability listing may apply to your claim, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.

Filing an Application

Whether you’re applying for SSI for yourself or on behalf of your son or daughter, a personal interview with an SSA representative is a standard part of the process. Application interviews usually take place at the local SSA office and no appointment is necessary.

This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.disability-benefits-help.org  or by contacting them at help@ssd-help.org.