As the parent, you cannot be faulted for not being familiar with the term “deeming.” The importance of knowing what it means significantly increases when trying to determine whether your blind or disabled child qualifies for Social Security disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program administered by the Social Security Administration.

To qualify for benefits, a child must be blind or disabled within the definitions used by SSA and meet strict financial guidelines that restrict the value of assets owned and set income limits for SSD. Deeming applies some of the income of parents and, in some cases, a stepparent to a child.

A consultation with a Social Security disability lawyer at NY Disability offers an excellent source of legal advice as well as outstanding representation for all matters pertaining to Social Security disability benefits. In the meantime, the following information about income limits for SSD, deeming, and other issues regarding financial assistance for children with disabilities may prove to be helpful.

Two Programs Offering Disability Benefits

The SSA has two programs offering financial benefits to people living with disabilities. The Social Security Disability Insurance program provides monthly payments to adults who are unable to work because of a disability. You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes on your wages or self-employment income to qualify for benefits. An SSDI lawyer at NY Disability can provide you with more information about the SSDI program.

Supplemental Security Income is the other program through Social Security. It also provides monthly payments, but it is available for adults and children who are blind or disabled. Unlike the SSDI program, SSI does not have a work requirement as part of the qualifying process.

There are, however, income and resource limits that apply to adults and children. The income of parents of a child applying for or receiving SSI benefits can be a factor in determining eligibility.

Income Limits For Children Applying For Disability

The SSI income limits in 2021 are $794 per month for an individual and $1,191 for a couple. Only some of the income an adult or child receives during the month counts toward the income limits for SSD.

In general, the first $20 of monthly unearned income does not count. Also excluded is the first $65 of income earned during the month from a job or through self-employment, and only half of the remaining earned income counts.

Monthly SSI benefits and income limits may be higher for children or adults whose federal SSI benefit is supplemented by the state where they live. Only four states, Arizona, West Virginia, Mississippi, and North Dakota, along with the Northern Mariana Islands do not supplement the federal benefit paid to SSI recipients. An SSD lawyer at NY Disability has more information about the benefits payable in your state.

SSI Income Rules Specific To Children

The SSA defines a “child” for purposes of Social Security disability in terms of ranging in age from birth to younger than 18 years of age or, in the case of a child regularly attending school, 22 years of age. When a child lives with one or both parents or a parent and stepparent, the SSA uses a process it refers to as “deeming” to apply some of the income from parents or a stepparent to the blind or disabled child to determine eligibility for Social Security disability through the SSI program.

Deeming only applies when a child lives with parents, a parent, or a parent and stepparent. A child who goes away to school and returns home on weekends or during holidays and the summer is considered to be living at home for purposes of deeming in connection with SSI eligibility.

Through a rather process that makes use of a formula, SSA computes the total monthly income of the parents or stepparent with whom a blind or disabled child lives and deducts an allowance of $397 per child for other children in the family. The allowance amount per child changes from year to year.

After deduction of the per-child allowance, a parent’s income is reduced by the monthly $20 unearned income exclusion, which can be applied to earned income in the event a parent does not have unearned income. SSA then applies the $65 exclusion and combines half of the remaining earned income with unearned income. The total income is then reduced by $794 for a child living with only one parent or by $1,191 for a child living with both parents or a parent and a stepparent. The remainder becomes the deemed income SSA includes in determining a child’s eligibility for benefits.

Get Help From An SSI Lawyer

Protecting the rights of a child to receive disability benefits is too important not to entrust to a skilled and experienced Social Security disability lawyer at NY Disability. Contact them today for a free consultation.