Social Security & Disability Benefits for Mentally Handicapped Children

Children with mental disabilities are eligible for some federal disability benefits, depending on their situation. The children and their families must meet specific income requirements and the child's mental disability must be on the approved mental disability list. Additionally, the disability must create a severe impact on the child's ability to function.

Financial Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for Social Security disability insurance, a child cannot be earning an income of his own that is more that $1,010.00 per month. Additionally, the resources of all family members must meet the standard Social Security disability income restrictions, which vary based on the number of people in the household. When a child is in a medical facility and health insurance pays for his care, the Social Security disability payment is limited to $30.00 per month.

Qualifying Mental Handicaps

In order to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, a child's specific mental handicap must be on the approved list of mental disorders and must exhibit specific functional limitations. The mental handicap must make it extremely difficult -- on a regular and ongoing basis -- for the child to function. A doctor must document the child's lack of ability to function as well as the specifics of her mental handicap.

Medicare Eligibility

During the initial application for a child's disability benefits, Social Security disability insurance is the only benefit for which he may qualify. If he has been receiving disability for at least two years and is not expected to improve significantly, he will become eligible for Medicare. In most states, a child who is receiving Social Security disability insurance will also qualify for Medicaid from the moment he id accepted into the SSDI program. Contact your state Medicaid office to see if your state offers this service.

Application Process

The Child Disability Starter Kit provides guidance on the application process for parents seeking Supplemental Security Income benefits for children. A worksheet included in the kit details the information you will need in order to complete the application. You may contact your closest Social Security office to determine if you are qualified to apply based on your financial resources. If so, you will complete the online Child Disability Report and sign a form authorizing your child's physician to provide information about your child's disability to the Social Security Administration.

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