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Would sickle-cell anemia qualify a child for SSI?

As we have touched on before on this blog, the Social Security Administration uses somewhat differing criteria to evaluate claims of disability for adults and children. Since individuals who are under the age of 18 do not generally hold full-time jobs, using a standard of “inability to work” would not be appropriate for children applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Instead of ability to work, the SSA attempts to determine if the child’s condition causes severe and marked functional limitations. Thus, the SSA has a separate section of its disability evaluation process that is used specifically for children.

One disease that can be hard on children is the hereditary condition called sickle-cell disease. This is a hematological illness, which means it primarily affects an individual’s blood cells. Specifically, this particular disease affects a person’s red blood cells, which are generally responsible for carrying oxygen around a person’s body. Individuals with sickle-cell disease can experience pain in the joints and abdomen, and often suffer from tissue damage to various important bodily organs. The condition can also cause children to be especially susceptible to infection.

The SSA’s publication on the disability evaluation process for children shows that there are several symptoms that may qualify a child for benefits. These include crises that require intravenous or intramusclular injections at least six times within a year-long period, hospital stays of at least 2 days, due to the disease, on at least three separate occasions, with each occasion separated by at least 30 days, over 12 months, and hemoglobin levels measured under a certain level at least three times a year.

It is important to note that falling into one of these categories is only the first step in the evaluation process that the SSA undertakes. Gaining benefits for a physical disability, especially for a child, can be complicated. Anyone who has questions about the process may want to think about discussing it with an experienced Ohio disability attorney.

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