One of the most heart-rending things a person can see is a parent fretting over a child’s developmental disability or other impairments that transform the joys of parenthood into a difficult struggle. The parent may wonder where his or her child will get the support and level of care needed so that the child can reach his or her full potential. For parents with similar concerns, the good news is that there may be help available.
Even though children often do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance because this program is considered a workers’ insurance program, they can often qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However in some instances a child can apply for SSD benefits based on the parent’s work history in order to receive a “child’s benefit” from the SSD program.
While every situation is different, if your child has a severe epilepsy condition and can meet the non-medical program requirements there is a good chance that he or she can receive some form of government benefit. For more than 20 years, Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has been dedicated to providing trusted Social Security guidance for families in Bentonville, Springdale, and all of Northwest Arkansas.
What Are the Requirements for a Child to Receive SSI Benefits for Epilepsy?
SSI is a government program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides cash benefits to disabled individuals with few resources and little income. For a childhood SSI disability application, the household income will be considered because children rarely have an income of their own. To satisfy the first test to receive disability, the household income may not exceed certain levels. This level is known as substantial gainful income. Substantial gainful activity includes things like work you are paid to do, work that is typically compensated, and work where profit was the goal. Household substantial gainful activity must fall below a certain threshold for the child to qualify for SSI benefits.
What the SSA Looks for Regarding a Child Epilepsy Disability Case
If you can meet the substantial gainful activity test, the claims examiner from the SSA of Disability Determination Services (DDS) will then inquire into your child’s impairment, in this case an epilepsy condition.
At Step 2 of the process, the representative will assess your child’s epilepsy impairment and, if other impairments are present, the cumulative effects of all combined impairments. At Step 2, you must show that your child’s epilepsy or seizure condition is expected to persist for at least 12 months and that it is severe. A severe impairment is one that necessitates changes or support for a number of functional limitations caused by the condition. A non-severe impairment, will cause only slight problems or minor functional limitations.
Provided that your child’s epilepsy condition is found to be severe, you will move to Step 3 of the process. At Step 3, the claims examiner will determine if your child has a listed condition or an impairment that is medically or functionally equal to a listed impairment. While not all of the following may apply to your child’s impairments, potentially related listed conditions include:
- 06 Motor system dysfunction
- 05 Benign brain tumors
- 03 Non-convulsive epilepsy
- 02 Major motor seizure disorder
Even if your child’s condition does not meet the criteria for a listed condition, it may still qualify if it functionally equals a listing by causing a marked deficit in two areas assessed or an extreme deficit in in one area assessed. A marked limitation is one where the impairment or impairments, “interferes seriously with your ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities.” A marked limitation is one that can seriously limit the ability for the individual to function on a daily basis. In a standardized testing environment a marked limitation is expressed by a score that is two, but no more than three, standard deviations from the average score. An extreme limitation is one that is considered one of the worst possible. Even though this type of rating is limited for only the limitation that very seriously degrade one’s ability to function independently, it does not necessarily require a complete loss of functionality. For a child, both extreme limitations in daily functioning and a comprehensive standardized test score that is at least three standard deviations less than the average score on the test are necessary to show an extreme limitation.
Rely on an Experienced Arkansas Disability Lawyer for Children with Epilepsy
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has helped families in northwest Arkansas with securing SSI benefits that can provide their child with additional help and support. To schedule your free and confidential SSI consultation, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.