Have you thought about whether your child might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
SSI Lawyer in Philadelphia
We help families get paid by Social Security.
We have a few questions before you READ any further:
Do you have a child with a disability?
Does your child’s disability have a significant impact on their life?
Could you use some extra cash to help with life expenses?
If yes to these questions… please read on…
If you already know that your child should be getting SSI and you’re ready to bring a lawyer into the fight, give us a call right now at 215-650-7563.
We are standing by waiting to hear from you.
If you aren’t quite sure, keep reading, below you will find most every frequently asked question we have ever had regarding your child’s right to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as a background on SSI laws.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Pennsylvania
The Social Security Administration does many things, but most people think of two things: issuing your social security number and paying your social security retirement payments. However, SSA does many other things, one of which is known as “SSI” – Supplemental Security Income. SSI is similar to SSDI – social security disability insurance, which is commonly known as “disability.” SSDI is like an insurance policy – as you work, you automatically pay into it – the contributions are on your paycheck as FICA. If you become disabled or blind, you qualify for payments, as long as you’ve contributed enough.
SSI vs. SSDI
SSI is different from SSDI in many ways, and for our clients, one of the most important distinctions is that SSI is a government benefit, similar to food stamps or housing vouchers, which are based on income and other qualifications. SSI is designed to provide financial assistance to those who are both disabled and meet the income requirements. SSDI can pay over $2,500 a month, but those who claim it often receive around $1,000-$1,500. Likewise, SSI pays up to $771 per child, but most people receive around $500-600 per month. The maximum amount, and the actual amount you’ll receive are adjusted every year by a “cost of living adjustment” which accounts for how the cost of living expenses (like food, rent, medicine, etc.) increase every year. The cost of living adjustment for 2020 is estimated to be about 2.75%, which would give the average recipient about $14 more per month.
Obviously most of your children haven’t worked – so they wouldn’t qualify for SSDI. However, they may qualify for SSI, and as their parents, you should be aware of this – it may help you to provide for your children and provide extra assistance in meeting their needs.
The application process for SSI and SSDI is the same – you fill out paperwork regarding your child’s conditions, list their symptoms, and how their conditions affect their life. You also provide a list of your doctors and other medical providers and sign a release for SSA to obtain your child’s medical records. Once this application is submitted, it can take up to a year to receive a decision, though certain conditions such as cancer can be moved through the system quickly, through what’s called a compassionate allowance.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Frequently asked questions:
What happens if my child’s application is denied?
You can ask for a re-determination, in which a new worker reviews your claim and decides again whether the claim should be allowed. If the claim is still denied, you may appeal it through SSA’s appellate process, which involves a hearing in front of a hearing officer or judge.
What happens at a hearing?
You and your attorney will present evidence and testimony to the hearing officer to allow her to see why your child should be found to be disabled.
How does my child qualify?
There are two ways to qualify: by having a specific diagnosis (known as “meeting the medical listing”) that is severe enough, or if your child’s illness does not meet the medical listing, if their life is impacted by their illnesses to a significant amount (known as functionally meeting the listings).
As an example, we’ll look at asthma. Your child, if diagnosed with asthma, could qualify by meeting the medical listing, if test results confirm that they have asthma that is severe enough. Or, if the test results do not show the asthma to be severe, if your child has been hospitalized three times in a year, your child may qualify.
What happens after my child is approved?
You will begin receiving monthly payments, and possibly back payments. Depending on your child’s illness, at some point, a few years later, additional evidence will need to be submitted to show that your child still meets the standards to be considered disabled. This can continue until your child is 18, or 22 if your child is enrolled in school.
What else do I need to submit other than medical records and the application?
SSA will contact you if more information is needed. In a small percentage of cases, SSA will need you to see a doctor, at their cost, to either confirm what you have submitted, or to perform an official diagnosis. For example, if you see a nurse practitioner, he or she may have diagnosed your child’s illness, but SSA only accepts diagnoses from doctors – DOs and MDs.
What happens after my child turns 18 or 22?
Your child will be able to apply for SSI on his or her own. If your child turns 18 and then begins to work, but their illness eventually prevents them from being able to work, they may then qualify for SSDI and/or SSI at that point.
Can you qualify for SSI and SSDI?
Some people do. Children do not, due to the fact that they haven’t worked (as described above) to qualify for SSDI. But adults who have worked and later become disabled may qualify for both if they are unable to work, and meet certain income limitations.
Do I need an attorney to apply for SSI?
While you are not required to have an attorney to apply, it can certainly be helpful, and may save you the headache of either having to attend a doctor’s appointment or filing appeals. Give us a call for a free consult anytime to discuss your case and see if an attorney might be able to speed the process along for you.
Won’t hiring an attorney cost me a lot of money?
We don’t take money directly from our clients in SSI matters. Any fees we earn are taken from the SSI.
What’s the most amount of money my family can make and my child can still qualify?
Again, each case is different, and it depends on how your family earns money, how many people are in your family, and many other factors.
My child has an IEP, does this impact their ability to earn SSI?
The IEP does not determine whether your child is eligible, but it can be useful in a determination. The information compiled both in anticipation of an IEP or IEP appeal, as well as what’s in the IEP can be useful evidence to show how your child is impacted by their illness, and show how they may be disabled. For example, if your child is autistic, and requires an IEP, all of the evidence for the IEP (medical records, behavior records, observations by teachers) can demonstrate the severity of your child’s autism, that he or she has autism, and how it impacts their ability to function. For example, if your child has behavior issues from her autism, this can show that your child’s autism impacts their ability to interact with children and teachers, which can show that your child meets the disability standards.
Wow, you read a lot! If you still have questions or you would like to consult with an attorney regarding your child’s SSI case, give us a call at 215-650-7563. We would love to hear from you (: