Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal agency that supports low-income families having children with disabilities or other health issues. Some health conditions are life-long such as cerebral palsy, blindness, down syndrome, autism, or intellectual disability. These conditions are costlier and get more demanding with the passage of time.
Individuals and families depending on SSI are always worried about the gradually increasing struggles to support their special children. How much can a parent make for a child to get SSI; especially if the child is with disabilities compared to a healthy normal child? This is a question that entitles a lot of different aspects and struggles of the parents. Low income or even modest-income families cannot resolve much of the financial constraints, which they face but SSI does reduce their financial struggles to a certain level providing them a little relief.
Families with children having disabilities generally face a high cost of living, which increases gradually with time.
SSI Supports Children with Disabilities and reduces Poverty
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has been financially supporting children with disabilities for a very long time now, in fact, if this organization was not supporting these low-income families, there would have been a much larger population of children with disabilities living below the poverty bar.
SSI does not eradicate all the financial problems but its support does lift out as much as 50 percent of the children with disabilities living below the poverty line.
On average, about 1.2 million children receive SSI benefits on a monthly basis averaging approximately $650 per month. SSI has a very strict set of rules and regulations and not everybody cannot meet its eligibility standards even though almost 11 million children of America are living with disabilities. The reason they don’t qualify for SSI is that their conditions are not as severe as marked by the SSI or the income and savings of their parents exceed the program’s set standard of the income and assets.
How much can a Parent make for a Child to get SSI?
In all relevance, only about 1.7 percent of the American children with disabilities receive the SSI benefits. To be eligible for the SSI benefits, a child must have a severe condition that is supported by medical history. The eligibility criteria are strict and it is also reviewed on a regular basis, as soon as the condition of a child improves; s/he may lose the eligibility to get SSI benefits.
Many disabled children receive Medicaid and other special support in the form of education but this does not support them financially. It is the SSI benefits that help the families with disabled children to support themselves; in order to pay their rents and utility bills, along with maintaining a balanced environment at home.
SSI also pays miscellaneous disability-endorsed expenses, which usually are not covered by insurance or the educational institutes such as physiotherapies or specialized therapies according to the child’s need. Moreover, some children might also need diapers or specific medical diets prescribed by the doctor as well as any kind of home modification necessary to make it accessible for the disabled children – which puts additional financial strains on the parents.
A disabled child requires monitoring 24/7 in some cases; whereas in other cases it requires a large amount of energy and time on a daily basis to fulfill the needs of a special child. For instance, parents are needed to take their children to health appointments as well as to therapy. They are expected to attend school meetings, meet the daily needs and cope up with any health uncertainties and medical emergencies.
SSI comes as a breath of relief for the parents of disabled children as well. It enables them to better care for their children. SSI aids the parents of children with disabilities to receive extra income; so they can reduce their working hours in order to take care of their children.
SSI is responsible for providing financial aid in the form of benefits to some of the most underprivileged families of America; helping them by reducing their insecurities regarding the financial quotient as well as improving the lives of their disabled children.
SSI Criteria of Qualification for Children with Disabilities
SSI provides benefits to almost 1.2 million children with disabilities across the country, making them 15% of the total recipients annually which is approximately 1.7 percent of all the children entitled to receive SSI benefits.
There is strict criteria of SSI for the children to meet in order to receive the benefits. The criteria are formulated with the help of qualified medical professionals, certified psychologists, physicians, therapists, etc. With the aid of these highly qualified members, a severity list of disabilities is compiled by Social Security Administration (SSA).
Children qualify the list on the basis of their physical and mental ailment but they are also observed for their behavioral attributes along with the dysfunctionality levels. The ailments such as autism, bipolar disorder, intellectual disability, or schizophrenia restrict a child to grow mentally. Moreover, physical conditions such as muscular dystrophy, blindness, down syndrome, cancer, or cerebral palsy are also verified; when noting down a child’s eligibility for the SSI.
For a child to attain the SSI benefits; the criteria of the monthly income of the family is very low. A family can qualify to receive SSI benefits for their disabled children if their income is below the defined poverty levels. As the earning power of the family increases, the benefits decline, and eligibility is completely phased out especially when people start earning a decent income.
If a child lives with a single parent then the tangible assets and income of the parent must not exceed $2,000, and if the child lives with a family then it should be limited to a maximum of $3,000. SSI benefits provide a very modest $650 per month for a disabled child. SSA normally rejects as many as half of the applicants for SSI per year.
The eligibility depends largely on a financial and medical spectrum. Once a person is sifted through these criteria; they are further evaluated according to their geographic, economic, and demographic factors. For instance; the area which is below the poverty line will have a greater number of children with disabilities to qualify for SSI as the family’s income is liable to fall under the strict income criteria set by SSI benefits.
Social Security Beneficiaries play an important role in maintaining the eligibility criteria for SSI
SSA and many other social security beneficiaries such as Medicaid and Special Education play a key role in ensuring that only the most severely impacted applicants are selected for the SSI benefits.
SSA conducts thorough checks and reviews in order to check the level of accuracy of the applicant’s disability. The medical examiner’s profile and authenticity are also counterchecked in order to determine the transparency of the whole procedure.
Once a disabled child’s profile is approved; it is further set up for individual evaluation to conduct eligibility reviews on a regular basis. For example; the low birth-weight babies who do show a certain level of improvement in their medical impairments are monitored for almost the first three years on a regular basis whereas all the other qualifying children are reviewed at the age of 18.
The parent must accompany the child for its regular checkups as well as other medical consultation. SSA conducts the medical reviews and is often responsible for discontinuing the benefits especially if a child’s condition worsens and s/he needs further advanced treatment.
Once a child’s health condition improves; the parents can work for longer hours in order to support their families and they are removed from the SSI entitlement list.
SSI helps in eradicating Poverty
Families who have disabled children and are living below the poverty line struggle more compared to the other poor families. They tend to undergo more hardships in bringing the food to the table, managing the utilities along with other medical necessities their disabled offspring require. SSI is not a complete solution to combat all these problems but it does assist in cordoning it to a certain level. It does provide a significant amount of income to reduce the struggles of a vulnerable family.
Financial constraints usually bring additional challenges to families with disabled children. These children require special diets which increase the cost of food, at times they need special equipment to aid them to conduct day-to-day activities such as a wheelchair or a larger diaper. In some cases, they require specialized therapies along with regular transportation to medical specialists and tutors.
SSI does help in eradicating poverty but it does not make the family come out of the poverty line. The family does receive SSI benefits but due to a low income and assets and the responsibility of disabled children, they remain burdened under the humongous responsibility of upbringing a disabled child; thus they remain poor.
SSI support can benefit disabled children in the long run. A recent study showed that children of poor families; who received SSI support in their childhood performed better in school compared to their peers as well as are more productive as adults.
SSI Benefits help Children with Disabilities Transit easily into Adulthood
One of the many long-term benefits of SSI for disabled children is their easy transition into adulthood. Poor children growing up with disabilities face more difficult challenges to overcome compared to normal, healthy children.
Health problems in childhood particularly mental health problems cause great damage to the adulthood perspective. Disability is already considered a setback when an individual starts searching for employment; pushing him/her further into the dark gallows of poverty.
SSI provides Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Medicaid, and many other programs like the Youth Transition Demonstration project or Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) that help disabled individuals to easily transition into adulthood. It has helped many children with disabilities belonging to the low-income spectrum to overcome their fear of getting accepted by society.
It is not mandatory that the productive individuals with disabilities receive SSI benefits on a long-term basis; instead, this depicts that these people suffer from adverse health-induced difficulties due to their disabilities and therefore It is important to overcome their deficiencies and live as an independent city in the society.
What is SSI – A Brief History of
SSI was established in 1972 by Congress in order to replace the complicated system of federal grants to the states, which were assisting the disabled, blind, and aged citizens of America. The whole process needed repair and that’s when SSI was formulated. Before the advent of SSI, the states used to provide financial support to blind children only and not to children with other disabilities.
Once this program was established, more children applied to get benefits who had different medical impairments other than blindness. The SSI went through further changes when a law in 1984 was passed which broadened the spectrum of SSI to mental health ailments as well.
The final transformation of SSI happened in 1996 when Congress established stricter measures to maintain criteria of children who will qualify for SSI benefits. The number of children who opted for SSI has risen to a great extent in the past 20 years. A great number of SSI recipients are children with disabilities who have mental disorders such as autism. The number of children in the autistic spectrum has risen consistently over the past 2 decades especially in low-income households.
SSI is available only for children who are with disabilities and belong to low-income and asset households.
SSI benefits aid American children to lead a normal life as much as possible. SSI provides monthly amounts to families who have disabled children and are living below the poverty line. This aid is used by the families to make ends meet every month as well as bear the extra expenses incurred by the children with disabilities. A little bit of financial relaxation aids in the positive behavior of the parents and a stable environment of the household which will eventually improve the motor skill development of the disabled child.