Can My Child Qualify for Disability with a Learning Disability in Arkansas?

Parents with a child who has a learning disability or a developmental disability undoubtedly want to provide a level of care that will allow their child to excel despite his or her medical impairment. Many times, this level of support can be achieved, in part, through the benefits available in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The program can provide cash benefits to families who can meet the program’s non-medical requirements and the medical requirements the child’s condition or combination of conditions must satisfy.

Working with an experienced Fayetteville, AR disability lawyer like Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can improve the likelihood that your benefits application will be accepted the first time. If you have already received a denial, Ken Kieklak can review your case and can potentially file an appeal for a benefits award.

Types of Learning Disabilities that Grant Children’s Social Security Disability Benefits

There is a broad array of conditions and impairments that can qualify a child for Social Security benefits in Arkansas. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has compiled a list of conditions for children and adults who can automatically be eligible for a child’s benefits. However, it is essential to note that a mere diagnosis is insufficient to establish the presence of these conditions. Our Arkansas children’s disability lawyer can help to make sure all the boxes are checked to get your child the benefits they need.

Provided that the family can meet the non-medical program requirements, conditions that may qualify a child for disability benefits includes:

111.07 Cerebral palsy with a severe motor dysfunction or less severe motor function impairment with one of the following: a seizure disorder, a low IQ of 70 or less, a significant emotional disorder, or a significant communication disorder.

111.08 Meningomyelocele and other types of spina bifida may allow a child to qualify for benefits when a severe motor dysfunction is present or less a severe motor function impairment with one of the following are present: a low IQ of 70 or less, age-inappropriate urinary of fecal incontinence, four extremity involvement, or uncontrolled cranial fluid that interferes with mental or motor skill development.

111.09 Communication impairment associated with a documented neurological disorder and a speech deficit, comprehension deficit, or hearing impairment.

112.05 Intellectual disabilities that are characterized by significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning. A number of other medical findings must be present to qualify through this listing.

112.10 Autistic Disorder and other disorders characterized by social development deficits can qualify an individual if qualitative deficits are present along with other age-inappropriate restrictions.

112.11 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) typically involves inattention, a lack of focus, and extreme activity levels. The presence of marked inattention, marked impulsiveness, and marked hyperactivity, along with other age-appropriate criteria, can qualify a child for benefits.

If a child has a learning disability that is not listed above or in the SSA’s listings, they may still qualify for benefits. A child can also be eligible if his or her impairment or combination of impairments is so severe that it is medically or functionally equal to a listed condition. The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can help you gather supporting documentation, including medical and educational records and reports of daily living from caregivers.

How a Child Can Qualify for Benefits for a Learning Disability in Arkansas

Many people believe that children can only get SSI benefits because they may lack the working credits required for SSDI. However, this is not the case. The SSA allows children to get SSDI. As you may already know, the Social Security Disability Insurance can provide financial assistance to adults with a disability that prevents them from returning to work. Children with a disability that began before the age of 22 can also receive SSDI benefits. These benefits are tied to their parents’ Social Security earnings records.

As such, the disabled child’s parents must meet a set of requirements. For instance, the disabled child’s parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Additionally, the SSA may consider parents who have died but worked enough years to qualify for SSDI benefits. Disabled children getting benefits from their parents’ Social Security benefits can be eligible to get benefits until they reach the age of 18. An adult – child – can keep receiving disability benefits as long as they are still disabled.

It is essential to understand that you are not required to accrue the necessary working credits to get SSDI benefits as a child. If the adult child gets married, their eligibility may be at risk. The qualification process for SSDI benefits for disabled children is similar to adults’ process if you are at least 18 years of age. The SSA will conduct the following five-step test to determine your eligibility:

Are You Working?

This is the first step in the SSA’s five-step test for SSDI qualification. In this first step, the SSA will look at whether you meet a certain amount of monthly income. As an SSDI benefits petitioner, you can’t engage in substantial gainful activity, or SGA. If you meet this threshold, the SSA may not consider your application and could dismiss it. However, if you are not working – or your monthly income is less than that allowed by the SSA – you may go to the second step.

Is Your Disability Severe?

The SSA will evaluate whether your disability or condition is classified as “severe” according their particular definition. For your disability to be considered severe, it should significantly limit your ability to perform basic or normal job activities. It is expected to last for at least a year. It is essential to understand that the SSA will not provide SSDI assistance to people whose condition or disability does not interrupt their basic work activities. If your condition is not severe under the SSA’s definition, your claim will be dismissed. However, if you meet the SSA’s definition, you may go to the next step in your claim.

Is Your Disability or Condition Listed in the SSA’s Blue Book?

The SSA has what is known as the “Blue Book.” This book contains a comprehensive list of conditions that are considered severe and can qualify for SSDI benefits. In the SSA’s eyes, these are conditions can cause a significant impact on your life in such a way that it can prevent you from engaging in any SGA. You may ask yourself what would happen if your condition or disability is not verbatim expressed in the SSA’s Blue Book. In this case, you can choose a disability that closely resembles to the ones on the SSA’s listing. Finding this information accurately can be challenging, which is why you may need assistance from an experienced Sebastian County disability attorney.

Can You Perform Your Previous Work?

The fact that you may have a condition or disability listed in the SSA’s Blue Book doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically qualify for your benefits. During your fourth step, the SSA will evaluate whether you can do the work you did before. If you are able to work and perform your previous job, the SSA will deny your claim. However, if you are unable to perform your current job, you can proceed to the next and final step.

Can You Perform Another Job?

If you cannot perform your previous work, the SSA will evaluate whether you can perform in any other job, despite your disability or condition. During this step, the SSA will consider different elements such as your age, experience, and skill set to determine whether you can perform another job. If you can do another type of job, you will not be considered disabled in the SSA’s eyes. However, if you can’t work any other job, you can be qualified to get SSDI benefits.

What Happens When My Child Turns 18 While On SSDI?

If your child was awarded childhood disability benefits, he or she will become an adult for program-purposes at age 18. This means that your child’s medical condition will be reviewed by the SSA when he or she reaches age 18. This review will be performed under the adult disability rules and typically occurs in the 1-year period following the child’s 18th birthday. In some instances where the child did not initially qualify for benefits due to family income in excess of the program, limits may now be eligible. Under the adult rules, the child’s parents’ income no longer counts against the child’s limits for SGA.

Can I Appeal an SSDI Denial for My Child in Arkansas?

The SSA denies thousands of applications every year in Arkansas. However, this should not discourage you. Fortunately, you can appeal the SSA’s decision and still fight for your benefits. If you were recently denied Social Security benefits in Arkansas, you can request an appeal within 60 days of your denial. Typically, you may have up to four turns to appeal your claim. These steps are known as the reconsideration, hearing, review, and Federal Court review appeals. A Bentonville disability appeals lawyer


During reconsideration, your claim will be completely reviewed again by a person other than the original revisor. The SSA will look at all the evidence presented in your claim and make a determination based on it or any new evidence you may bring forth. Once revised, the SSA will make a determination. If you are not satisfied with the SSA’s answer during reconsideration, you can request a formal hearing.


During your formal hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who did not participate in your original case or reconsideration, will evaluate your case and all the evidence. At this point, the judge will hear any arguments you may want to bring forward, as well as any witnesses you have to support your case. After evaluating your case, the ALJ will make a final determination on your case.


If you are still not satisfied with the ALJ’s decision on your case, you can request a formal review with the Social Security Appeals Council. The council will look at your case and determine whether your case should be sent back to an ALJ for further review or if it should sustain the ALJ’s determination during the hearing.

Federal Court Review

If you disagree with the SSA’ Appeals Council’s decision on your case, you can file a lawsuit with the federal court. It is essential to always fight for your claim regardless of the SSA’s denial attempts. Our experienced Arkansas attorneys for disability denials can help you with your case.

Let Our Arkansas Children’s Disability Lawyer Fight for You

Experienced Rogers, AR disability lawyer, Ken Kieklak, can help your child qualify for disability benefits if they have a learning disability or other severe impairments. Our firm is committed to fighting for hard-working parents, grandparents, and guardians, who only want what is best for their child. To schedule your free and confidential childhood disability consultation, call (479) 316-0438 or contact our firm online.