There are several options for help when it comes to caring for children with learning disabilities, and one of the organizations that is most often turned to is the Social Security Administration (SSA). The eligibility rules that govern Social Security benefits when it comes to learning disabilities can be difficult to meet, and there are Social Security laws governing the process that must be followed.
What Learning Disabilities Qualify for SSA Benefits
For a child to be eligible for benefits they must meet the SSA’s Blue Book Listing for neurodevelopmental disorders (112.11). Until recently this only covered ADHD but it has been expanded to include tic disorders and other learning disabilities that severely impact the child’s life. For learning disorders to meet what is necessary medical documentation of one of the following must be provided:
– Limited ability to interact with others; particularly handling conflicts, making friends, cooperation with others and grasping social cues.
– Inability to focus on tasks; marked by being easily distracted, failure to complete tasks on time, causes distractions for others and an inability to maintain a regular pace while working on tasks.
– Issues with remembering, understanding and applying information; this is shown by issues with problem solving, understanding terms and not being able to follow directions.
– Lacking skills to take care of themselves; marked by poor hygiene, failure to protect themselves from harm, lack of emotional or behavioral control.
To prove the above, the SSA will require substantial documentation. School records and teacher notes often serve as good documentation. Witness letters from caregivers or family members that have seen specific incidents that highlight how the above issues impact the life of the child are another strong source of documentation. This is all additional to the medical records showing any diagnoses that also describe the above issues.
What SSA Benefit can be Approved
For instances of learning disabilities the SSA has a program based on income that is the most likely avenue to receive benefits. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit is for individuals that don’t have a work record to qualify for other Social Security programs, and they or their family are low-income earners that are in need of extra support due to the disability.
With child disabilities, such as learning disabilities, the Social Security laws require that the household income be calculated to determine if the income level meets the eligibility requirements. If the household income is too high then regardless of the severity of the disability then the benefit cannot be paid out.