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SSA assesses income in determining SSI eligibility for children

A Tennessee family with a disabled child faces daily challenges. The child may require extensive medical care, as well as other potential accommodations due to the nature of his or her disability. Fortunately, for children who are disabled, there is help available in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Disabled individuals under the age of 18 who meet the Social Security Administration's (SSA) requirements for household income and resources may qualify for SSI benefits. In order to determine whether a disabled child will meet the SSA's requirements for SSI-related benefits, the SSA will assess the resources and income available to the child's household, as most children under age 18 do not have a significant income themselves.

The SSA looks at several types of income to determining eligibility. The SSA will evaluate earned income, including wages, as well as earnings from self-employment and other compensation. The SSA will also assess unearned income, including unemployment benefits, interest, state disability payments and any other income that might not be compensatory.

Additionally, the SSA will consider deemed income, which means it will attribute a portion of the income that parents, guardians or whomever else a disabled child might live with, has as income of the child. Finally, the SSA will evaluate in-kind income, which includes shelter or food that a child receives for free or at a substantial discount. Nonetheless, the SSA will not include tax returns or the value of food stamps in its assessment.

Typically, the more resources and income that a disabled child and his or her household have, the less a child will receive in SSI benefits. If a child living in one's home is disabled and they believe they qualify for assistance from the SSA, potential applicants may wish to consult with an attorney for help in applying for SSI benefits.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children," accessed on May 27, 2016

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