WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE, DURING
& AFTER YOU START THE CLAIM
KNOW THE BASICS
IS THE CHILD OVER THE AGE OF 18?
If your seriously disabled child is OVER age 18, stop reading and call the Center for our companion pamphlet that specifically deals with disabled children 18 years of age and older.
FOR THE CHILD UNDER AGE 18
If your minor child has major health problems affecting his or her functioning physically, mentally or a combination of both, the first question that must be answered is the family unit (mother and father or single parent) where the child resides poor enough to be eligible? It will not matter how seriously disabled the minor child may be, if the parents’ monthly income plus the existing assets are above the level the law has set, the child’s claim will be DENIED! Usually, if the family is eligible for state assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid, the non-medical requirement is met.
You meet the non medical requirements. Just how seriously disabled must my child be?
The child must be suffering from a marked and severe medical condition that is expected to last at least 1 year or longer. There are 2 methods to prove this. First, does my child’s condition meet the specific requirements found in the Listing of Impairments. These Listings state the exact proof that must be shown for the child’s specific disease or condition. The 2nd way is to show that the child’s poor health is so serious that it is functionally equivalent to a listed impairment.
What are the fees?
All fees are contingent. This means we only get paid if the claim is approved and benefits are paid. Social Security will pay the attorney 25% of the past due benefit or $6,000 – whichever is less. If the claim is unsuccessful, there is no fee.
How do we get started?
When you call, we will outline the steps you need to take to start the claim. Generally, you will call the toll free number of SSA, 800.772.1213, and make an appointment to meet a claims representative at the SSA office nearest your home. You may also simply walk into the nearest office and file the claim. However, we strongly urge you to call our Counseling Center before you take any action. This is a very technical program with many rules and regulations. It is strongly recommended to get guidance before you even start. Early mistakes can be very difficult to correct once the claim has begun.
What happens if the claim is approved?
Before any benefits are paid, since often it can take many months before a favorable decision is obtained, the non medical requirements must be reviewed for each month the claim has been pending. Has there been any change in living arrangements, marital status of the parents, unexpected income or work activity during the entire period? The monthly benefit is then calculated, and the past due benefit determined. The past due benefit is called the underpayment and generally paid in a set sequence we will explain to you.
What do you do if the claim is denied?
If the claim is denied, and the vast majority of claims are denied, you have a right to a hearing before a judge.
The hearing must be requested in writing and filed with SSA within 60 days from the date of denial. It can take many months before a hearing is scheduled. Many parents become frustrated and just give up. That is the biggest mistake you can make. Most awards happen at the hearing level after a judge hears live testimony and considers the medical evidence developed by your attorney. It is usually well worth the wait.
What happens when my child turns 18?
The law requires that your child’s claim be re-evaluated the year he or she turns 18. The adult standards are now applied and a new determination is made to determine whether claim meets the adult requirements for on-going benefits.
If you have read this far and think your child qualifies, CALL OUR CENTER NOW for an absolutely free consultation on the steps that need to be taken immediately.