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Taking a closer look at the SSD benefit qualifications process

For St. Louis parents living with a child with a mental illness such as autism, depression, or bipolar disorder, the daily stresses and concerns that they deal with can be overwhelming. Combine that with the financial costs associated with the child's care, and parents may wonder how they'll ever be able to handle the situation they're faced with.

Fortunately, there is assistance available to provide for a child's care through the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) that's provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In the event that the child is a minor still living at home, then the SSA uses a process known as deeming in determining which of the parent's income they'll consider towards qualification. The maximum amount one can usually make is no more than $2000 per month for a single parent household, or $3000 per month for 2-parent families,

After the financial criteria, a child's mental condition must be deemed severe enough to merit these benefits. These qualifications are spelled out in what the SSA calls the Blue Book. Each criteria focuses on the documented qualitative deficits that children have displayed which have led to their diagnoses. The SSA will typically review a child's complete clinical history, including therapy and psychiatric records.

Once a child qualifies for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for mental conditions, those benefits could remain in place for the remainder if his or her life, depending on the prognosis for recovery of their full mental and emotional s given by their physicians. However long the benefits last, they provide a great source of financial help to parents in managing their children's lives. Those looking to find out if their child can qualify for SSD benefits because of mental illness may want to consult with a social security lawyer for answers to those questions.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle "Applying for SSI Benefits for a Child with Autism" Laura Shumaker, Oct. 08, 2013

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