Devastating illnesses can arrive at any stage of life. Even though children haven’t spent a lifetime contributing to Social Security, the agency does provide benefits to children suffering from disabling diseases and injuries ranging from cancer to blindness. The funds are paid through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program which helps parents with limited income pay for the medical care and living expenses of their children.

Applying for SSI

Parents must apply for SSI benefits on behalf of their children. The application requires parents to provide their own, and their child’s birth certificate. Individuals must also provide proof of citizenship and their W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns. This information must be submitted with a full medical report identifying the child’s medical condition and any treatments they have received, or are expected to receive.

To qualify for SSI benefits, parents must show that the child’s disability has lasted, or can be expected to last for one year or longer. These conditions include cancer, spina bifida, down syndrome, etc. Thus, it is not something that can be applied for in the event of a temporary condition such as a broken bone, emergency surgery, etc.

Processing the application takes time, and it is not uncommon for the process to take 3-5 months to complete. During this time, the agency may reach out to the parents, their Chicago disability attorney, teachers, and doctors of the child to confirm information submitted within the application itself.  Because the process takes a considerable amount of time to complete, it is imperative that the information be submitted in an accurate and thorough manner. This can reduce the risk of reduction which can add time to the process and delay receipt of funds by many months.

Working While Receiving SSI

Children who wish to work once they reach legal age can work and continue to receive SSI benefits. The agency does not count most of the child’s earnings into their equation. Moreover, the child can continue receiving Medicaid coverage even after their income exceeds the limits where SSI payments would stop.

Children who receive SSI payments can enter into the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program, as well as the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security Program. These two programs help children transition into the workplace as they become adults. These programs are available for children age 15 or older.