Published on: April 18, 2015
The decision process of whether or not to apply for disability benefits on behalf of your child is difficult, and you probably have a myriad of questions like: “What medical conditions constitute disability payments for children?” or “How do I even start?”
These are legitimate questions; especially so if your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.
Similarly with adults, children have a set of requirements that must be met in order to receive Supplemental Security Income payments and receive child disability benefits.
This is the only program children can apply for, as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is specifically for those who have accrued work credits and contributed to Social Security throughout their working life.
Can a Child with ADHD Get SSI Payments?
Is it possible for a child to receive SSI for being diagnosed with ADHD? Yes. Although possible, it’s not necessarily probable, and here’s why: much like an adult’s ability to work or not is a main determining factor for disability, a child’s ability to function on-level with other children their age (and ergo, their schoolwork) is the parallel criterion.
Your child must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) “severity” requirement from the children’s official list of impairments in order to receive payments under the SSI program (this is listing 112.11).
So, What are the Requirements?
These requirements change depending on your age, where children 1-3 years-old only need one of the impairments from their specific list, and 3-18 need two. Either way, you must have medical evidence documenting your child’s severe and marked inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity—all three are needed to be considered for benefits. That is part A of B; both parts must be satisfied in order for benefits to be awarded.
We will be focusing on ages 3-18 in the Part B section, in which you need at least 2 of the following (these points are referenced from the SSA’s official website and Bluebook on childhood mental disorders):
Marked impairment in age-appropriate cognitive/communicative function
Marked impairment in age-appropriate social functioning
Marked impairment in age-appropriate personal functioning
Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace
In order to substantiate these “marked impairments,” you will need to provide medical documentation and treatment notes from a doctor, as well as non-medical information and evaluation on your child’s level of functionality from other professionals such as teachers.
All of these factors will be overseen by a representative from Disability Determination Services (DDS), who, in the case of ADHD, will be a psychologist with a Ph.D. and will administer a professional opinion and decision based on the evidence presented. Unfortunately, DDS’s determination can be a diluted opinion derived from other professionals they have read from in the application.
Medication and Your Child
As is common for children diagnosed with ADHD, many may be administered medication to deal with their behavioral and functional impairments. Your child is assessed with the medication's effects being taken into consideration-- that said, if your child is able to function at an age-appropriate level with medication, they are not considered disabled. This is much like an adult who is able to function normally with anti-inflammatory medication to manage their severe arthritis.
Please keep this distinction in mind concerning your child and their ADHD, as it is especially significant when evaluating a child's case for disability.
What do I do Next?
Finding a disability expert who will accept and assist with child applications is few and far between—however, at Disability Experts of Florida, we always give every case due diligence, care and consideration concerning your child’s application for disability. Children’s cases can have very subtle difficulties and nuances that, without experience, can be overlooked and result in a denial in your child’s application.
Whether your child has ADHD or another documented medical condition or illness, contact us today or read our guide on how to get disability benefits for children in Florida for more information. We are compassionate and available for you to answer questions and handle your child’s disability claim efficiently and effectively.