2023 Guide to Arkansas Social Security Disability for Children

Caring for a child with a disability requires a parent’s utmost attention. Children with disabilities often need extensive medical care throughout their life. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers benefits for children with disabilities. These benefits can provide a disabled child with medical insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments that parents can use to help with their child’s needs.

If your child has a disability and you need guidance to file for Social Security Disability, speak with a disability lawyer today. Fayetteville Social Security Disability lawyer Ken Kieklak understands the needs of families of disabled children face and will work diligently to secure benefits for your child. Our firm of legal professionals will evaluate your family’s unique needs and ensure you and your child receive the legal representation that you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation, call us at (479) 316-0438, or reach us online.

Can My Child Receive Disability Benefits on My Record?

Disability can be claimed through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI is a program supported by the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes that are deducted from your wages and paid to the SSA. The work credits you earn over the course of your career are used to support your SSDI claim.

If you are approved to receive SSDI, your child may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. If qualified, your child can receive 50% to 80% of your SSDI benefits. This means in addition to receiving benefits for yourself, your child can also receive half that amount. If your child is younger than 16, your spouse automatically qualifies to receive benefits on your record to care for your child, even without a disability.

Unmarried children younger than 18 may also receive benefits, even if they are not disabled. Once a child reaches 18 or gets married, the benefits will cease. However, if a child is still in high school after turning 18, they will still receive benefits until they graduate. If your child turns 19 and is still in school, the benefits will discontinue after two months. While each of your children is eligible for SSDI payments, there is a total cap for family benefits that range from 150-180% of your benefits.

If your child is disabled and needs their own benefits, they may qualify on your record as well. These children can continue to receive benefits on your record, even into adulthood. To qualify, they must have received the disability before they turned 22. These benefits, unlike benefits for non-disabled children, can continue into adulthood. Your child will lose these benefits if they get married, but they may be able to reapply on their spouse’s record instead.

Can My Child Receive Supplemental Security Income Payments?

To qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments, a person must have low income and limited resources. Your child can be eligible for SSI payments if they are younger than age 18 and have a physical or mental illness, or combination of illnesses, which meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability” for children.

To be considered legally disabled and receive SSI payments, your child must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Your child cannot be working or earning more than $1,470 a month in 2023 (or $2,460 if your child is blind).
  • Your child must have a physical or mental illness, or a combination of illnesses, which result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means your child’s illness must seriously restrict the activities that they can engage in.
  • Your child’s illness or condition must be expected to last for a minimum of 12 months or expected to result in death.

It is important to remember that these earning thresholds will likely change every year.

The SSA also considers the family and household resources as part of an SSI application if a family earns enough money to support the child, your SSI application may be denied.

Applying for SSDI and SSI Payments for Your Child

To apply for SSI payments for your child, you must provide the SSA with extensive information about your child’s medical condition and his or her ability to perform daily activities. The SSA may also ask for information from your child’s doctors, teachers, therapists, and other parties who might have information about your child’s condition.

Once you provide the SSA with this information, they will send your case to the Arkansas Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to be reviewed by doctors and other trained staff. If DDS cannot make a determination concerning your child’s condition, they may request that you take your child to a physician for a medical examination or test.

The SSA also provides immediate SSI payments for up to six months to children afflicted with certain conditions, such as:

  • Total Blindness
  • Total Deafness
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Severe Intellectual Disability (child must be at least age four)
  • Symptomatic HIV Infection
  • Low Birth Weight (e.g., less than 2 pounds, 10 ounces)

Once you begin receiving SSDI benefits, your child may also apply for benefits on your record. The SSA will request Social Security cards and birth certificates from qualified family members who want to apply for benefits on your record.

The Student Earned Income Exclusion

The Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) allows certain students with disabilities to exclude a portion of their earned income when determining their eligibility for SSI benefits.

Students with disabilities often face unique challenges in balancing their education and work responsibilities. The SEIE aims to encourage these students to pursue education and employment without risking a reduction in benefits.

To be eligible for the exclusion, applicants have to be under the age of 22 and must regularly attend school or vocational training. The SEIE applies to earnings from work, including wages, salaries, tips, and self-employment income. The current exclusion amount is adjusted annually. For 2023, the amount of earnings that will have no effect on eligibility for SSI benefits is $8,950 a year. The amount of earnings that may be excluded each month, until the maximum for the year is reached, is $2,220.

Fayetteville, AR Social Security Benefits Attorneys, Can Help File Your Child’s Disability Application

If your child has a disability and you need to apply for Social Security benefits, you should consult with a Fayetteville Social Security benefits attorney. Ken Kieklak has represented clients in various types of Social Security cases and is prepared to help your child receive disability benefits. To schedule a free consultation, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438.