Guest Bloggers, SSI, Supporting Our Most Vulnerable

SSI is Critical for Children with Developmental and Behavioral Disabilities

April 22, 2021 • By

Last Updated: April 22, 2021

Nathaniel BeersSocial Security has a disability program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that can provide monthly income support for lower-income families who care for children with developmental and behavioral disabilities, as well as physical impairments. Children with developmental disabilities like autism and intellectual disability, as well as other behavioral health impairments like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, may qualify for SSI.

Families of children with disabilities often have higher out-of-pocket costs and additional demands on their time. This can lead to more financial instability. Children with disabilities may be in diapers for a longer period, they may need behavioral incentives to learn new skills, or they may require specialized equipment not covered by insurance. Monthly SSI payments help reduce the struggles families experience and provide the financial support their children need.

SSI can enable a child’s access to health insurance. In most states, people receiving SSI are automatically eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid covers essential long-term services and support that is typically unavailable through private insurance. Services like personal and home care assistance help ensure children can continue to receive care. In addition to medical services, Medicaid can also cover eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, lifts, and supportive housing services. The home modifications and equipment allow family members to care for children at home.

SSI plays a critical role for children with disabilities and their families by providing needed financial support and access to Medicaid. For more information, please read the SSI Eligibility for Children page and review the SSI Child Disability Starter Kit. Please share this information with your friends and family—and post it on social media.

SSA’s posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-SSA organization or author.


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  1. Darci L McIntyre

    My son and I moves from California to Texas last year. My son who is almost 32 was born with a genetic chromosone disease which affects him physically and mentally. He is also considered border MR. In Ca he was in a independent living home serviced through Housing service and Regional center. Now he’s home with me, I had to apply as his rep payee, I submitted all the documents including forms from his doctor and I have yet to receive a confirmation of any type from Social security that his documents were received or being processed. I’ve called left message with the person who supposedly working his case and this lady has yet to return a call. I”m not so much worried about the money but more so medical insurance for him. He’s over 26 so I can’t cover him on my work insurance ( that should change too)
    Also trying to find an adult day program here for him has also been useless. One place tells me there’s a 10 year waitlist. In CA he was at a place where he was offered the opportunity to attend classes, be independent, he was in special Olympics and he felt “normal”.
    Here in Texas it feels like his life has been placed on hold. Now before the naysayers chime in, I take very good care of my son..I work from home full time and thankfully his ca program is allowing him to attend online so he has something to do. However that’s ending soon and it would be nice for him to have something here to do.

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Darci. We are sorry to hear about your son’s condition and your situation. For your son’s security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community to continue to work with our offices with specific questions. Please contact your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call. Additionally, you may be able to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Trivanks

    Hey, Nathaniel Of course i’ll share with post you guys doing a really good job…

    Reply
  3. Cathy Bates

    I think Medicaid eligibility for children with disabilities should be made more accessible, especially the income limits for Medicaid, which tend to vary by state, making it hard for parents with disabled children to get access to the care they need quickly.

    Reply
    • Roger

      Absolutely. Preventative services for children with disabilities makes a world of difference. The sooner they get the services they need determines how easy or difficult it will be to manage it later in life. As far as medicaid eligibility for children with disabilities being made more accessible I’m in total agreement. Some state income limits just complicate things more. In NY SSI is not considered earned income. Apparently tx and tn consider it earned income. If I remember correctly you could make up to $2500 a month for a family of 4 before ur benefits might decrease. This at least gives you a stepping stone to getting off services. In tx i think the limit was $150 or $200 a month before u lose all Medicaid benefits. Tn too but not as bad. Considering ssi as earned income can sometimes put you right over the threshold by a few dollars. Then eventually your back where u started. Receiving the ssi entitles not only you but your entire family to benefits. Most of the time certain states want you over that income limit so u lose ur ssi. So counting ssi income can actually make you lose it. There is so much fine print when it comes to receiving or losing benefits. Most of the time it is a person with a disability that has to make sense of everything. All children with disabilities deserve the best treatment that can be offered. The sooner the better outcome. Just makes sense.

      Reply
  4. Nora Garcia

    I have 2 kids one 16 and the other 10 years old, bought born premature, the older have ADHD learning Disability and my secund child was diagnostic with a vision problem,, so they can Apply for SSI , they have this benefit when they born?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Nora. In general, Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children. The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year or result in death. To apply for benefits or to find out more information on benefits for disabled children, visit here. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  5. Abdull Hassan

    Thank you God bless America

    Reply
  6. Miguel Torres

    Miguel I erase myself providing my own food clothing. My older sister has always lived with my mother and my younger brother. I was born slow slow to speak slow to walk. A disability. First lesson airline from my father 3 years old this I remember waking me up in the middle of the night beating me up because I pee the bed. I can’t remember if it was me or my younger brother I clearly thought it was him. Health issues came out of that I have a really strong gallbladder makes it difficult for me to pee sometimes. They divorce and then when I abandonment. I first a neighbor. Then my grandmother I love her to death. Didn’t quite stop I always slept somewhere else. The age of 8 or 9 the beatings were constant. That’s when the broomsticks over the head started. I know this is heavy but I don’t want this to happen too other people other children. I guess my mom was pretty desperate to survive in this country. She said she was going to dumb me down. To collect social security. Because like the girl is saying in the top somebody in her family member lied that her child had a murmur in the heart. Encouraging her to start applying for social security for me. I’m not betraying a woman. That till this day still denies her son anything I’ve never been her son. I started making weird head movements with already always being left behind with slowness. The bullying started I couldn’t spell I could read after fight with one child. His mother accused me of being an animal and she felt harder for her child I got diagnosed with something all the test I took. I was put into a room of games I’m not saying the same problems I had when I was younger are still here the spelling only through Google text.
    Did not provide a shelter a home if I ever went there I was abused by my stepfather by her my brother my sister was the only one that took pity on me. I thought I was being beat up for being gay. I know now it was not that it was a combination. I was very gay men community. Everything I learned I learned through visuals I have always known art and been artistic. My first friend taught me how to drive. I kept learning from traveling I couldn’t read about Italy I had to go see Italy. I grew strong I made great money everything stopped education wise in school my education was the real world I starting chance I was slow behind jobs that I can only do mostly under the table people treating me like I was not a citizen. I don’t think of social security it was the cost of a lot of pain and damage. Survival of the fetus . If I say I have a disability right away they think I’m trying to fight social security I guess. After hiding for so many years pretending I was smart that’s the dumbest thing they could see right through me. I have to be honest with myself because after living for 3 years on my own not having the support. Of person that I trusted also making sure I didn’t get anything. If you ask that person today how do you go about getting your house. That person will never mention me. I become a hair stylist when I met him it was my first lover. Somebody gave me a good tip buy a house Michael buy a house I told my mom she had the money she didn’t want to I was telling my love at the whole entire time we need to buy a house he was scared but finally bought it my name doesn’t appear in those papers anyway the house went from 97,000 1 million. My mom finally bought a house in Puerto Rico after I told her she got like 80,000.. the moral of the story is I was not all that dumb I was very resourceful I certain things. I do like a lot of skills. I didn’t ask to be born this way but I am here. I actually managed to survive all the way until covid-19 for the first thing that fell was my credit then repossession of my car then no money then no food stamps the first one broken is still broken and I’m being evicted. I hope one day there’s a happy ending to the story. And I hope everybody gets exactly what they want in life. There are three things my mom has done to me that I can never forget her. This is a pretty tragic story and not everything was always dark. But when it comes to money you’re willing to beat your child on the head to make him dumber already knowing that he suffers from intellectual disabilities. I’m sorry ladies to this day I have a problem with loud not understanding women. They see me they don’t believe I could have problems problems.. this is all factual all these stories need to come out so people can respect the brain of each other not everybody grows up with the same brain. Since I am at zero. I’m being evicted. I will now start my new life of extreme property and homelessness if you pass me on the streets and this is dramatic I already realized. Add me a canvas and some food. I like belongs now to you the people of the United States of America and to the Republic in which it stands but one nation under God indivisible and Liberty for all amen

    Reply
    • Karen J Johnson

      Miguel
      You need to reach out to Health and Human Services Housing Dept. They cant evict you during Covid.

      Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Miguel. We are sorry to hear about your experience and situation. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Kim Morris

    My son filed for Sis due to his bipolar disorder and was denied the first time. He never tried again. Can he re-apply now? He is still battling mental illness.

    Reply
    • Karen J Johnson

      Kim
      Absolutely re-apply most people don’t get it the first time and use a disability assistance org they are very helpful and can tell you exactly what to do and what you need, Is he seeing a psychiatrist or councilor that would help to show he needs the care and establishes a pattern. Good Luck

      Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Kim. We are sorry to hear about your son’s condition. It sounds like your son is an adult. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based disability program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. The SSDI program provides benefits to insured disabled or blind adults covered by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust funds. If you feel that he meets our definition of disability, he can apply online. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
    • Roger

      Yes. Almost everyone gets denied the first time. I was denied twice until I received it for bipolar disorder.
      I never followed up or was told how the system works.
      I received it in NY. Every state is completely different. In NY you go in front of a judge who specifically does only ssi//ssdi cases. They know the deal. If something about your case file doesn’t look legit they know.
      I moved to tx and found out hhsc decides, if i remember correctly.
      As for being a parent of 2 autistic children you do have multiple tests done by many specialists. Occupational therapy, speech, physical therapy…..
      As for getting a child assessed every three months that’s what would be a complete waste of money because a child will have autism their entire lives. It doesn’t just go away so as for wasting money there is something called autism awareness and that’s free. Educate yourself. If you had any idea how time consuming and difficult raising a child with a autism is you would realize how uneducated and ridiculous you sound.

      Reply
  8. Brian Willson

    I was born 3 mths premature weighing 2 lbs. ,condition :poor and given up at birth in PA. on July 12,1965 .The Allegheny county department of human services said im developmentally delayed and my 1st 2 years of life in foster home then adopted in PA. by Alan Matthews and Edna Palmer Matthews and then they the adopte family moved to Oklahoma where Mr. Matthews rejected me because he perceived me as being “slow”,so they had their parental rights relinquished .So im put in another Sunbeam Family Services foster home for the developmentally delayed again .Then the Allegheny county department of human services said I may have subtle learning disabilities due to my prematurity .I was then placed in Oklahoma City with a Bishop family and then placed with a Willson family ,then back to the Bishop family and then bak to the Willson family and adopted by the Willson family in 1973 and on Otober 26th,1982 I after my evening job I was in a 2 car auto/pedestrian automobile accident where I was watching a 2 car drag race standing on the side of the road at the finish line when one of the drivers lost control leaving the roadway and striking me on my left side shattering my left hip and femur and then pulling me under the vehicle traveling in excess of 100 mph where I stayed until the 1969 SS Chevelle came to a stop and was the last one found wrapped around the rear axle and had to be cut out to be removed .You can verify this on the front page of The Daily Oklahoman ,or a Oklahoma city police report ,I was then taken I mean we were taken there was 3 of us hit to Midwest City Hospital ,but they turned us down because they didn’t have the facilities to take care of us so they took us to memorial Hospital and later transferred to Oklahoma Childrens Hospital where I eventually woke up from athe coma where I had zickel nail hardware put in my left hip and femur and eventually learned to walk again and the the SSA saying in not permanent disabled or even disabled nor will the SSA even get the records from these hospitals to read research these hospital records to make a informed decision which may I add ive been trying since 1982 that’s 38 years .

    Reply
    • Brian Willson

      the SSA will not do there JOB!

      Reply
      • karen johnson

        Mr.Wilson

        I too am on disability in Texas and I have found that no one is going to do it for you. It requires lots of work, filling out papers, keeping my doctors apts taking my meds. I also consulted the disability action center they told me the forms to get who to see but I had to do it all and keep track of all the medical records and files reports prescriptions and why I was taking them each time something was changed, just like filling out forms for food stamps there is so much information they want. they are not going to get the information for you.. they want you to get the info and send it to them. YOU have to do the work. If you dont understand things it may be possible for you to be assigned an advocate that would walk you through all the procedures, but you will still need to obtain alot of information yourself. It takes time and patience. Good Luck

        Reply
  9. Mrs.Rich

    In order for children to get ssi they must have 3yrs history of sickness and been retained in the same grade 2or3 times. These parents take their children to the social security and tell them how to act with the Dr. so they can get approval. That child medical Dr. should have some background history and the school counselor have background history too.. And that child should have a new assessment done every 3months instead of 3yrs. That would save the social security a lot of money and these parents need to go and get a job or go to a trade school in order to get their children Qualified. Then they would #Stop having there Children’s #Fake their #illness. Thell these parents that they have to go through #HRS and Make sure that child is in school and have a good attendance record, some times these parents make there Children’s do alot of thing against their will, like playing #Crazy and #Dumb. Try this i Grantee this will work.

    Reply
    • Joe

      What are you trying to explain? It’s not clear.

      Reply
    • Athena B.

      Yes the SSI program should pay more attention to the pediatrician who knows the child, instead of the doctors they “pay” to certify these kids. My severely autistic son who was nonverbal saw the SSI doctor for three minutes and he didn’t even ask me any questions! They denied my son SSI on his word -the do tor who packs in 50 assessments a day, clearly only for the money and who doesn’t care a lick whether my son gets his entitlement or not! The SSI system needs an overhaul!

      If a child is certified as needing Institutional Care but for is wanting to keep him home, by his state Medicaid Agency, why aren’t the SSI disability certifications met??? They both use the same standard! And why do they insist on a hospitalization to waive parental income??? Standing law in the Olmstead decision says a disabled person has the RIGHT to stay in their home, not in a hospital or an institution! This old rule needs to sunset and the poverty level threshold needs to be updated to today’s standards and not those of the 1970s! No one gets rich on SSI.

      Reply
    • JENN

      What are you saying? Let me Educate and Advocate for myself and those alike for a moment, I speak about Autism and global developmental delay. With this diagnosis it has to be made by certain specialist that are above an MD level. Its an unspoken tragedy that is effecting a whole generation of children 1 in 54 per CDC back in 2019, imagine the numbers now. 1 out of 8 are boys. THIS WILL MEAN OUR FIRST RESPONDERS, OUR MILITARY,OUR DOCTORS ,OUR SCIENTIST OUR TEACHERS (you get the picture) will become obsolete almost as there will be an entire generation of developmentally delayed Men and Woman.
      NOW i will address you as a single parent especially, I have no choice but to care for my child, I would love to work and go on dates or even shower everyday would be a luxary but God had a different plan I guess. I can’t just leave my son WITH anybody. I can barely get my son to leave our home, and theres little help unless you have a large family or alot of money. When you have medicaid your put on 6 to 8 month waitlists. My son is 6, he’s my everything don’t get me wrong, His diagnosis came at 15mo after he very abruptly changed. Autism level 2 with accompanying language impairment and global developmental delay NoS meaning no reason medically for any of it. MY SON IS ALSO 100lbs which makes it impossible to make him do anything. You look on Facebook groups you see thousands of moms in absolute despair including me as we watch our children struggle we watch them harm themselves and we as parents take beatings like our children are grown ups, our children usually have no way to communicate and end up very frustrated understandably. FOR ME i have no help, no man, no big family and its hands down the hardest thing I have ever endured in my 41 years of life.. So please I ask you keep your insulting and obviously uneducated statements to your self because I would be shocked if you were a parent like me,, because until you live our life you can’t understand the exhaustion, frustration,, overwhelming despair and worry about what happens when we die as parents we can’t fix our children 💔

      Reply
      • Amy

        You said that perfectly only difference is I’m 45 and it’s my grandson. Thank you for saying what you did and advocating for those of us unable to

        Reply
      • NATALIE

        THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING OUT. AS A MOM OF A ALMOST 16 YEAR OLDS AUTISTIC SON, NOT RECEIVING SSI BUT INCOME SINCE HIS DAD AND I ARE DISABLED, THEY DENIED HIM A CHECK FOR HIMSELF. UNEDUCATED PEOPLE WITHOUT DISABLED CHILDREN DON’T UNDERSTAND THE STRUGGLE AND NOT KNOWING WHY YOU WERE CHOSEN TO BE THAT SPECIAL CHILDS MOM YET THANKFUL WE HAVE THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE THAT GOD GAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN. MY DAUGHTER HAS 2 SEVERELY AUTISTIC CHILDREN, SHE’S 26 YEARS OLD AND MOTHER OF 3 AND SINCE JANUARY A WIDOW. HER HUSBAND PASSED UNEXPECTEDLY AND SHE BECAME DEEPLY DEPRESSED FROM GRIEVING. A MOM THAT HAD NOW HAVE TO BE HOME TO CARE FOR HER 5 YEAR OLDS AND 8 YEAR OLD WITHOUT HER HUSBAND’S HELP. A MOM THAT WAS IN COLLEGEAND BRINGING IN INCOME NOW HAS TO MAKE DRASTIC CHANGES…I STEPPED IN AS WELL AS OTHERS TO HELP AS HER HUSBAND WAS THE SOLE PROVIDER…WHAT PEOPLE SAY DON’T MEAN ANYTHING UNLESS THEY’VE BEEN IN THE SAME LIKE SITUATION OR SIMILAR

        Reply
      • Amanda Lynn

        I have a very similar situation and I applaud you for speaking with knowledge of having a disabled child and being a single mother with no support from family or friends because it’s hard. I love my son more than I could ever express in words, I have no idea what the people who do not experience this day to day parenting with lack of respect or understanding whatsoever what we do for our children would do for one week. I am very familiar with my self care being the last thing on my list each day, I have no people who can handle my child and so that leads to me being an army of one. I am really not surprised by the lack of knowledge with regards to the reality of being a single mother raising a child living with severe disabilities. The majority of the population tends to have favorable views of the parent doing everything wrong; however, it’s not something that any of us parents who live this life journey with our children should be responsible to explain or educate people about. It is an issue when people speak with no respect and a lack of knowledge on sensitive issues that they have no need to just talk in order to feel they have a resolution to a lack of support and awareness and understanding for the families who truly live this journey and not be a part of the problem, but try to encourage and respect the children and the parents who are truly trying to find some type of actual help in regards to everyone’s wellbeing and the population who criticizes and shames are not in any way people who have empathy or kindness in their life. I pray that the Lord humbles them and also gives them a sense of understanding the amount of hurt they instill in the families who they have no idea of how much we do and we are not going to stop trying for our children to have the best opportunities and lives possible.

        Reply
    • Patty D

      I understand that their are always people that lie and cheat the system that’s always going to happen ! My daughter has several conditions that make her life hell ! She was on disability for three years and they came at us with some bullshit that her hand eye coordination had improved and we went all the way with appeals even their experts opinion was that she was still disabled and here’s the kicker my daughter had a seizure at the court hearing and to be taken to the hospital ! People that fraud disability make it impossible for people that really need it not be able to get it and keep it

      Reply
  10. Melita

    Ok can I ask a question I been taking care of my sister and she lives with me and I’m her payee for taking care of her needs and I take her to all her dr appointment and cook for her and Clean up for her so am I Entitled to receive a Check for taking care of her just asking l

    Reply
    • faith bradshaw

      my stomch hurt so bad now.

      Reply
    • Athena B.

      Check your state’s Medicaid plan for In-Home Support Services which pays a family member for caregiving and protective supervision. It is the recognition you deserve for all your hard work.

      Reply
      • Jenn

        Nevada does not however and as a single mom it makes its literally impossible to work . I’m scared for our future as I greatly appreciate my sons disability income it leaves me with no chance to have retirement or ssa or even ssi . I am on nothing but waitlist for therapy for my son and can barely afford food throughout the month.

        Reply
        • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

          Hi, Jenn. We are sorry to hear about your situation. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

          Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Melita. Thanks for your question. We do not pay caregivers. However, you may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Kimberly Foster

      Absolutely you need to get a doctor to fill out a medical
      needs form

      Reply
    • Connie quern

      Hang in there

      Reply

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