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Deeming affects SSI benefits for children

Tennessee parents of course want to provide as best they can for their children. When a parent with a disabled child under the age of 18 works, questions may arise about whether the child can obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits, and, if so, how much.

If a parent with a disabled child is working, the Social Security Administration may consider some of the parent's income and resources as being available to the child. Before making a determination on the amount of SSI benefits for which a disabled child is eligible, the SSA will go through a process called deeming to determine how much of a parent's income and resources the agency will count.

Deeming will apply if a parent of a child under 18, who either lives at home or lives away at school but comes home periodically and is subject to parental control, has income or resources that the SSA must consider. The SSA will deem only a portion of a parent's income and resources to a child, and the agency will not consider all of a parent's income and resources. For example, the SSA will not deem a parent's home, money in pension funds or a single vehicle used for transportation in determining a child's SSI benefits. Nor will the SSA deem income a parent uses to make court-ordered support payments or money received through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Parents may also be interested to know that deeming will cease the month after a child turns 18, which means that a child who was not eligible for SSI benefits prior to turning 18 may become eligible for benefits at age 18.

If you have a disabled child and questions about SSI-related benefits, you may wish to consult with an attorney for guidance, as this is not an exhaustive summary of deeming requirements.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Spotlight on Deeming Parental Income and Resources - 2015 Edition," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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