Parents who have children who have severe disabilities might want to consider applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Often referred to by its initials, SSI is a need-based program designed to aid low-income families with the expenses associated with having a disabled child.
How does one go about applying for SSI benefits, then? As with many government programs these days, at least some of the process can be completed online. Parents are required to complete both a Child Disability Report and an Application for Supplemental Security Income. Only the Child Disability Report can be completed online; the Application for SSI must be handled in person or over the phone.
To help them determine if their child might be eligible for SSI benefits, parents can download a disability starter kit from the Social Security Administration website; the kit includes a fact sheet, a checklist and a worksheet parents can complete to help them with the process.
Of course, parents or guardians of disabled children do not need to tackle this process by themselves. Attorneys who specialize in dealing with Social Security benefits — both SSI and Social Security disability insurance, or SSDI — can be a valuable resource when it comes to applying. After all, parents who are speaking with or meeting with an SSA representative might be experiencing the process for the first time, while the SSA agent has been through it many times. A representative can help an applicant or potential applicant reach more even footing when dealing with this potentially cumbersome government agency.