Social Security disability is a total disability program, as is SSI. Neither program will award temporary disability benefits, meaning benefits that are paid out monthly for a temporary and defined time period. When a person is awarded disability benefits, the award is made under the assumption that the claimant will receive the benefits indefinitely, until such time as a future review (known as a CDR, or continuing disability review) determines that the individual has achieved medical improvement of their condition.
Nor will either program award benefits for “partial disability”, meaning the partial loss of use of an sensory ability (vision, hearing, for example), or the partial loss of an extremity.
For a condition to be considered disabling for an adult, it must result in the loss of the ability to engage in work activity while earning a substantial and gainful income. For a condition to be considered disabling for a child, it must result in the loss of the ability to engage in what SSA refers to as “age-appropriate activities”. For school-age children, this will ordinarily translate into an impairment of the ability to keep up with their peers in a school setting, which is why children filing for disability will have not only their medical records reviewed, but will often have their school records reviewed as well.