How Does the SSA Determine if a Child is Disabled?

The disability program within the Social Security Administration that provides benefits for disabled children is called the Supplemental Security Income program.  Eligibility for this program is determined by considering two distinct factors; financial need and severity of the disability.  

Concerning the financial requirements, it is important to understand that SSI is a needs-based program.  Before the SSA even considers whether or not the child is disabled, they will first look into the income and assets of the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) to determine whether or not their resources render them eligible.  There are several complicated factors that are considered when evaluating income and assets, therefore we always recommend that folks reach out to us for a free, no obligation telephone call to discuss everything that is considered in these situations.  We serve all of Solano County and take calls throughout the surrounding area to assist folks with questions such as this. 

Once the SSA has determined that the family meets the financial eligibility requirements of the program, they will then begin their analysis to determine whether or not the child’s disability meets the severity requirements.  In order to do this, the SSA will consider what they call the Listing of Impairments – Child Listings.  The Child Listings are broken down into 14 categories that broadly cover most common disabling conditions.  If a child’s condition meets all of the requirements of one of these listings, he/she can be found disabled.

Unfortunately, some conditions are not covered in the Child Listings.  Or, in some cases, a child may suffer from multiple disabilities that alone are not severe enough to meet the requirements, but when considered together are highly disabling.  In those types of situations, the SSA will consider whether the child’s disability or disabilities are severe enough to be considered equivalent to a listing. 

Finally, the SSA may also consider what it calls the “Domains of Functioning” when determining whether or not a child is disabled. The SSA has created six different domains in order to determine the level in which a child is functioning.  These domains are as follows; acquiring and using information, attending and completing tasks, interacting and relating with others, moving about and manipulating objects, health and physical well being and caring for yourself.  Essentially, the SSA will look to see if a child is markedly limited in two of these domains or extremely limited in one of these domains. There are a myriad of types of evidence that can be utilized to demonstrate severity of limitations in these domains. 

If your child is disabled and you have questions about eligibility or need expert help in navigating this system, give us a call.  There is no cost, pressure or obligation to ask us your questions and to see if our firm is a good fit to represent your family in this complicated process.  We currently serve Davis, CA, Winters, CA, Vacaville, CA, Fairfield, CA, Vallejo, CA and all surrounding cities.  Still not sure?  Look us up on Yelp.  We are proud of what our clients have to say about us!