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Deeming parental income in SSI cases for children

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2019 | Qualifying For SSD/SSI Benefits

Most people in Columbus know about the benefits that are offered by the Social Security Administration. These benefits include the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income program. For SSDI, a prospective beneficiary is required to have worked and contributed to the system in return for benefits. SSI, however, is a need-based program and there is no work requirement.

According to the SSA, a child can receive benefits if they are disabled or blind, unmarried, under 18, or under 22 if they are a regular school attendee. The child can be an SSI beneficiary from the time of birth and their eligibility can continue until they are 18. When that child reaches 18 years of age, the SSA will evaluate the disabilities based on guidelines that apply to adult benefit recipients. For a child who is blind, benefits are awarded per the guidelines that apply to adult SSI recipients receiving benefits for blindness.

A point to be noted when claiming SSI benefits for children pertains to deeming parental income. Deeming is applicable when the parents of a disabled or blind child have income that the SSA cannot ignore. In addition to biological parents, deeming parental income is applicable in the case of stepparents and adoptive parents, provided the stepparent or adoptive parent lives in the same household as the child. The SSA, however, does not consider all income for deeming. For example, Department of Veterans’ Affairs benefits and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families do not count as income. Similarly, homes, vehicles and pension accounts do not count as resources.

Finally, deeming does not apply after the child has turned 18. That means that a child who was not eligible for SSI benefits due to deeming of parental income may become eligible for SSI benefits after attaining the age of 18. There are other situations where deeming does not apply. For more detailed information on SSI benefits for children, one may choose to seek guidance from a lawyer who specializes in SSD/SSI to help with the application process.