child with disabilities
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

When your child is living with disabilities that significantly affect their daily life, seeking financial assistance through programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Florida can be a crucial step. These programs can provide financial support to families, but the application process can be complex, especially when it comes to describing your child’s disabilities. In this blog, presented by Disability Advocates Group, we’ll provide essential tips on how to offer clear and detailed descriptions of your child’s disabilities in your SSDI or SSI application.

Understanding SSDI and SSI for Children

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is designed for children who have disabilities, come from families with low income and limited resources, and need financial support for their daily living expenses.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is available to adults and, in some cases, to adult children (if they became disabled before the age of 22) who have sufficient work credits through their parents’ employment history. This program can provide benefits to disabled adult children based on their parents’ work record.

Tips for Providing Clear and Detailed Descriptions

1. Gather Detailed Medical Records:

The foundation of your application should be detailed and up-to-date medical records. Ensure you have complete documentation of your child’s disabilities, including test results, treatment plans, medications, and any other relevant medical information. These records provide a clear and factual basis for your child’s disabilities.

2. Consult with Medical Professionals:

Medical professionals, including specialists, therapists, and pediatricians, play a critical role in diagnosing and treating your child’s disabilities. Seek their expertise in providing accurate descriptions of your child’s conditions. They can offer professional opinions and expert documentation.

3. Be Specific and Comprehensive:

In your application, avoid vague or general terms when describing your child’s disabilities. Use precise medical terminology and be comprehensive in detailing how each disability affects your child’s life, including their mobility, daily activities, and educational or developmental progress.

4. Describe the Onset and Duration:

Clearly state when your child’s disabilities were first identified and diagnosed. If the disabilities are expected to last for a specific duration or are permanent, provide this information. Documentation of the duration helps the SSA evaluate your child’s eligibility.

5. Discuss Treatment and Therapies:

Explain any treatments, therapies, medications, or surgical procedures your child is undergoing or has undergone to manage their disabilities. Discuss the frequency, duration, and effects of these treatments, as well as any side effects.

6. Highlight Functional Limitations:

Describe how your child’s disabilities affect their daily life. Be specific about any limitations in mobility, self-care, communication, and social interactions. Include information about any assistive devices or adaptive aids used by your child.

7. Provide Detailed School and Educational Information:

If your child is of school age, discuss how their disabilities impact their ability to learn and engage in educational activities. Mention any Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), special education services, or accommodations provided at school.

8. Include Behavioral and Mental Health Issues:

If your child has behavioral or mental health issues related to their disabilities, describe these in detail. Discuss any diagnosed mental health conditions, behavioral patterns, and how these affect your child’s daily life.

9. Explain the Impact on Your Child’s Daily Life:

Share real-life examples of how your child’s disabilities affect their daily life. Describe the challenges they face in self-care, communication, play, and social interactions. Providing these insights can help the SSA better understand the disabilities’ impact.

10. Use Clear Language:

While you should provide detailed descriptions, it’s also essential to use clear and simple language. Avoid jargon or medical terms that may not be easily understood by the reviewers at the SSA.

Seek Legal Assistance from Disability Advocates Group

Navigating the application process for SSDI or SSI benefits for children with disabilities in Florida can be complex. If you’re unsure about how to accurately and effectively describe your child’s disabilities, or if your initial application is denied, seeking legal assistance from Disability Advocates Group can be invaluable. Our experienced attorneys can:

  • Review Your Case: Attorneys can review your child’s case and medical records to determine the best approach.
  • Offer Expert Guidance: They can provide guidance on the application process, ensuring that you present a strong case with clear descriptions of your child’s disabilities.
  • Advocate on Your Behalf: In the event of a denied claim, attorneys can represent you in the appeals process, advocating for your child’s right to the benefits they deserve.
  • Ensure Timely Filing: Legal representation can help you meet important deadlines and avoid common application pitfalls that might lead to denial.

Conclusion

When seeking SSDI or SSI benefits for a child with disabilities in Florida, providing clear and detailed descriptions of your child’s disabilities is fundamental to a successful application. Gathering thorough medical records, working closely with medical professionals, and following the tips outlined in this blog can greatly improve your chances of a successful claim.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.