Understanding Social Security Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Children with Disabilities


Did you know that Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash payments to children with disabilities whose families have limited incomes and resources?

A child must meet all of the following disability conditions to be considered medically eligible for SSI:

The child, if not blind, must not work or earn more than $1,350 per month in 2022. If the child is blind, the child must not work or earn more than $2,260 in 2022. Earnings amounts generally change each year to keep up with inflation.

· The child must have one or more medical conditions that result in “marked and severe functional limitations”. This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit the child’s activities.

· The child’s condition must last at least a year or is expected to lead to death.

Some older teens may have part-time jobs or be involved in work programs, which may affect SSI eligibility. Also, if an unmarried child under the age of 18 lives at home, we may consider part of the parents’ income as the child’s income. We make allowances for parents and their other children living in the house when we consider the parents’ income. You can read more about child benefits in our publication, Benefits for Children with Disabilities at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf.

We also help children – and adults – through our compassionate care allowance program. Compassionate care allowances are a way to quickly identify conditions that, by definition, meet our standard for disability benefits. You can read the list of conditions at www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm. Compassionate care allowances can help reduce the wait time before we make a disability determination for children with the most severe disabilities. Thousands of children receive benefits because they have a condition on this list, but children with conditions not on this list are still eligible for SSI.

If you are or know a parent, guardian, caregiver or representative of a child who you think may be eligible, visit our Disability Benefits – Apply for a Child (under 18) page at www.ssa .gov/ssikids to learn more and start an application.


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