As a parent, when your child is sick, you want to do everything you can to help them. When a child faces a chronic or life-threatening illness, it can be challenging and impact your family’s income. Medical bills, time away from work, and additional childcare needs can add up quickly. You shouldn’t have to face these hardships alone. There are benefits available for children with disabilities, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can help families in this situation get the financial assistance they need. 

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a needs-based program provided by the Social Security Administration that is funded through general taxes. It exists to help low-income families or individuals who have a disability or are blind and also have limited income or resources. SSI is different from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and no previous work history is required for SSI eligibility. For those that do qualify, monthly payments are sent to help with caring for the disabled child.  

Does My Child Qualify for SSI?

For your child to qualify for SSI benefits, specific requirements must be met. Under the Social Security Administration guidelines, a child is considered to be:

  • A person who is unmarried
  • A person who is not the head of household
  • A person who is under the age of 18, or
  • A person who is under the age of 22 and is a student who regularly attends school

For the child to qualify for SSI benefits, they must be either disabled or blind. 

Criteria for a child’s disability include:

  • The child has a medically determined mental or physical impairment(s) that results in severely limited functioning
  • The impairment(s) has already lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or is expected to result in death

Criteria for a child’s blindness include:

  • The child must have a visual impairment with visual acuity for distance of 20/200 or less in their better eye with use of a correcting lens 


  • The child must have a visual field limitation in their better eye where the widest diameter of the visual field has an angle no greater than 20 degrees

What Conditions Qualify My Child for SSI?

There are many illnesses that qualify as life-threatening or a disability and would allow your child to qualify for SSI. To see the full list, you can visit the SSA website, but some of the most common childhood illnesses include:

  • Heart Transplants
  • Childhood Cancers
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Muscular Dystrophy 

Applying for SSI for A Child

Applying for SSI for a child requires an Application for Supplemental Security Income as well as a Child Disability Report. A Child Disability Report helps collect necessary information about the child’s condition and the ways in which it affects his or her ability to function. Other information and documents you may need to provide include but are not limited to:

  • The child’s birth certificate or other proof or birth or adoption certificate
  • Proof that the child is a U.S. citizen
  • Proof of the worker’s marriage to the child’s natural or adoptive parent if the child is the worker’s stepchild
  • W-2 form or self-employment tax return if the child had earnings
  • Proof of the worker’s death if they are deceased and U.S. military discharge papers

There may also be a number of documents pertaining to the parents of the child, such as:

  • Parent’s birth certificate
  • Proof of marriage 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status

Get Help With an SSI Appeal for A Child

The process of appealing an SSI denial for your child can feel intimidating and time-consuming. We understand that if your child has a disability or life-threatening illness, you may not have the time or energy to research and appeal for SSI benefits. The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill in Columbia, MO have experience with Child SSI claims if your child needs help with an appeal. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss Supplemental Security Income for children.