Many disabled Americans receive Social Security benefits or SSI. All types of different disabilities both mental and physical can qualify for these benefits, as long as the meet the Social Security Administrations (SSA) guidelines for receiving them. These benefits include income of up to $500/monthly as well as possible medicaid. Someone told me that you can receive these benefits for a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). So, I started to wonder if this was true, looked into it and found some interesting information...
After looking into different articles as well as SSA policies and guidelines, I found that it is indeed possible to be eligible for and receive Social Security benefits for your ADHD child. Is it easy to get these benefits? No not really though its used to be much easier.
Can I receive SSI benefits for my ADHD child?Up until 1996,ADHD and other such conditions were in a Social Security regulations category called the "Listing of Impairments". In this section benefits were automatically granted if the parent(s) could provide adequate documentation from the child's medical/psychological provider confirming the child's diagnose(s). There fore, it was fairly easy to start receiving SSI benefits for your ADHD child. However, in August of 1996 that changed when "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act" (PRWORA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
|The signing of PRWORA|
Since the PRWORA came into law these maladaptive behavior categories have been eliminated, which mainly consisted of emotional/educational disabilities including ADHD. This means that the PRWORA of 1996 prevents children with ADHD as their only disability from automatically qualifying for SSI benefits. Though this doesn't mean that your ADHD child won't be eligible for benefits, it means that the ADHD needs to be severe and limiting.
To receive SSI benefits for your ADHD child he/she must have all three ADHD symptoms that are severe (you can read about these in my article The Three Subtypes of ADHD). These symptoms include severe inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. The child's symptoms also must cause them limitations due to their ADHD. There are actually two set of conditions to receive SSI benefits from ADHD.
Children ages 3-18: The child must have severe difficulty or limitations compared to other kids their age in at least two basic areas. Which means the child's ADHD severely affects his/her capability to socialize, learn, develop, play or engage in everyday activities that's age appropriate. This is determined without any consideration for special structure or support, meaning they consider how the child would behave/function in a typical class without help.
You also have to provide documents from professionals to support the severity of he child's ADHD. Any of the following documents would be acceptable:
- A medical diagnosis from a Doctor or Psychiatrist
- Treatment plans or notes written by a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist/counselor
- Current and history information from parents and teachers including teacher reports/evaluations.
- Standardized testing, achievement testing, or IQ test results.
How can I file and how much will I get?I believe you can receive payments for up to $500 monthly for your child. However, it all depends on the determination of your child's disability and needs.
As for filing, you can apply online at the Social Security website by clicking here or by calling 1-800-771-1213. You'll need to fill out a medical and functional history about your child. They will also require each of your child's medical and psychological professionals including counseling, speech services etc names, address and visit dates for the past year, medical records and test results, treatment records/plans, treatments and anything else pertaining to his/her health, and a complete copy of the child's school records including IEP, assesments and testing results. (Please keep copies of anything and everything you send to the Social Security Administration because they often tend to lose things easily.
Are there any income limits?SSI has strict income/assets limits and the parents income will be counted partially towards the child's income limit. Also, older children of working age can not earn more than $1,010 monthly from working.
What if we get denied?To be honest pretty much everyone who applies for Social Security benefits gets denied at first. It is weird but true for some reason, but not always.If you do get denied you can request a reconsideration or second opinion where a new team will review your child's case, during which they will want to see and speak with your child. They will then have a formal meeting at which you may or may not need to attend.
So we found out that you can indeed file or Social Security benefits for your ADHD child and that it is possible to get approved and receive benefits. Now, as parents, families or friends of an ADHD child I'd like to know what you think so give us your opinion below...Do you think parents should be able to receive SSI for their ADHD child(ren)? Do you agree that approval should depend on the severity of their ADHD symptoms?
For more on receiving SSI benefits for your ADHD child you can visit the Social Security Administration website.