Can I Get Disability Benefits for My Child in Arkansas?

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Social security programs are often associated with older individuals.  But did you know that young people can also be eligible?  Like their adult counterparts, children can also qualify for disability if they suffer from a serious injury or illness.  However, the rules and requirements for children are very different.  How can you get disability benefits for your child in Arkansas?

Basic Disability Requirements for Children in Arkansas

While the rules for obtaining child disability benefits are different from those which apply to adults, there are a few basic similarities.  As with adults, a child’s disability must last (or be expected to last) for a period of no fewer than 12 months, or be expected to end in death.

The severity requirement is also similar.  For adults, the impairment in question must prohibit the claimant from working.  Needless to say, most children are not earning an income, so as an alternative, the child’s disability must “cause marked and severe functional limitations.”

These “functional limitations” are measured in terms of a claimant’s RFC, or Residual Functional Capacity.  RFC is divided into separate physical and mental assessments.  The former evaluates the applicant’s ability to perform basic functions like standing, sitting, walking, reaching and lifting.  The latter weighs mental abilities, such as concentration and memory.

A disabled child may be able to receive benefits through one of two programs:

  1. SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  2. SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)

Obtaining benefits through SSDI is somewhat unlikely where children are concerned, as SSDI is based largely on the number of work credits a person has accumulated through employment over the years.  Typically, children are more likely to qualify through SSI, which is based primarily on financial need.

Conditions That Can Qualify Your Child for Disability

Regardless of age, the SSA does not award benefits to individuals whose conditions can be easily controlled and suppressed with treatment.  The impairment involved with a claim must be considered “severe.”

In order to gauge severity, SSA claims examiners refer to a document known as the “Blue Book,” or Listing of Impairments.  The Listing supplies specific criteria for numerous common medical conditions.  (If a condition is not included, you may still be able to qualify with a medical-vocational allowance, or through the Compassionate Allowances program.)  Your pediatrician’s opinions and medical records will be compared against the criteria supplied in the Listing to make a determination about your child.

Because they are physically and mentally different from grown adults, children have their own version of the Listing.  While many impairments overlap, Part B: Childhood Listings includes several conditions which are not on the adult Listing.

For example, there is an entire section devoted to Growth Impairment (100.00), which is not mentioned for adults.  ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is also included exclusively in the childhood listings under Section 112.11, although adults may be able to be approved on the same basis.

Some common medical conditions which can qualify your child for disability include:

  • Anxiety: 112.06
  • Asthma: 103.03
  • Autism: 112.10
  • Blindness: 102.02
  • Bone Fractures: 101.06, 101.07
  • Burns: 101.08, 108.08
  • Dermatitis: 108.05
  • Developmental Disorders: 112.12
  • Diabetes (under age six, requiring daily insulin): 109.08
  • Down Syndrome (non-mosaic): 110.06
  • Epilepsy: 111.02, 111.03
  • Hearing Loss: 102.10, 102.11
  • Intellectual Disability: 112.05
  • Mood Disorders (e.g. depression): 112.04
  • Personality Disorders (e.g. antisocial personality disorder ): 112.08

You can read the federal regulations for how the SSA evaluates children here.

If you’re trying to get a claim approved for your child, an experienced disability benefits lawyer can help.  To schedule a private legal consultation, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Lawat (479) 439-1843, or contact us online.

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