Representing Minors in El Paso Disability Hearings

Raising a child with a disability or medical condition is taxing both emotionally and financially. To ease the financial burden of the costs associated with a disabled child, children are eligible for a monthly Social Security Disability benefit. Eligibility for children’s benefits differs from that of adults and preparing an application for benefits can be a daunting task while caring for a disabled child. Jon Sipes, Attorney at Law is experienced in presenting disability claims for minors and representing minors in disability hearings. Attorney Sipes understands what a financial burden a disability places on a family. That is why he dedicates his career to helping El Paso area minors prevail in disability hearings and claims for Social Security benefits.

Does your child qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

The first criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits is that a child is under the age of 18 or under the age of 22 and is a student regularly attending school. 

After the age requirement is met, there are two types of disability payments a child may qualify for: (1) Social Security Income, and (2) Social Security Disability Insurance. Social Security Income (SSI) is a monthly payment to low-income children who are blind or have a medical condition recognized as a disability. The Social Security Administration will consider the child’s income and resources as well as the income of the child’s household in determining whether the child is eligible for SSI. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a monthly payment that is based on a wage earner’s payment into the Social Security program. There are several ways a child can receive SSDI benefits. If one of the child’s parents has passed away the child may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits based on the deceased parent’s earnings. If a parent is disabled and eligible for SSDI benefits, a child may also receive a portion of the disabled parent’s SSDI benefits. Finally, an adult over the age of 22 may qualify for SSDI payments based on his or her parent’s earnings if he or she became disabled before turning 22. 

Determining a child’s eligibility for SSI or SSDI payment is complex and depends on several factors. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can assist in evaluating a child’s likelihood of receiving Social Security payments.

What is considered a disability?

A disability is a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions that cause severe functional limitations or severely limit a child’s activities. The condition(s) must either be expected to continue for at least 12 months or expected to result in a child’s death.

The Social Security Administration recognizes some medical conditions as disabling and will make immediate payments for up to six months while the agency reviews the child’s condition for a disability. Some conditions that lead to immediate payments include:

  • Total blindness
  • Total deafness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • HIV infection
  • Low birth weight (below two pounds, ten ounces)

Other medical conditions require evaluations and review of a child’s medical history to determine whether a disability exists. 

What is a disability review?

Before confirming disability payments and then periodically after confirming a disability, the Social Security Administration will review a child’s medical condition to make sure the child is disabled. Reviews involve submitting medical and school records and may require the child to under medical exams or testing to confirm a disability. 

After the Social Security Administration confirms a child has a disability, it is required to review the child’s medical condition at least every three years for children under age 18. For babies, a review may be scheduled before their first birthday.

What happens when a child turns 18?

When a disabled child turns 18, he or she may still be eligible for Social Security Disability payments, but the Social Security Administration will conduct another evaluation of the medical condition(s) under the eligibility requirements for an adult. This evaluation is similar to a review of a child’s disability but also considers whether the applicant can perform any type of work successfully.

How can I receive Social Security benefits for my child?

To receive Social Security payments for your disabled child, you must apply with the Social Security Administration. The application process requires submitting information concerning your child’s medical condition(s), including school, hospital, and doctor’s records that support the conclusion that your child is disabled. 

Many applications for Social Security payments are denied at first because they do not contain enough information to support finding a disability. It may be beneficial to have the assistance of someone who understands the application process when applying.

What happens if my application is denied?

You can appeal the initial denial of the application for Social Security benefits on behalf of your child. The appeals process requires showing what errors the Social Security Administration made in denying the application. There are strict deadlines for filing an appeal of the denial and prosecuting an appeal.

What can minors expect at disability hearings?

The Social Security Administration may require you and your child to attend a hearing before an administrative law judge. The key to prevailing at a disability hearing is preparation. You need lots of evidence to support the finding that your child has a disability. Attorneys such as Jon Sipes are experienced in gathering corroborative evidence and highlighting information that is key to the administrative law judge’s decision. An attorney can also assist in preparing you and your child for the hearing, including familiarizing you with the types of questions that may be asked and suggesting how to put your best case forward.  

Consult with a Social Security Disability Attorney With Experience Handling Disability Hearings with Minors

Raising a child who suffers from a disability can weigh on a family. Easing the financial burden of a disability is one way to lift some of that weight. Experienced Social Security Disability attorney Jon Sipes has helped many families apply for and obtain Social Security payments to offset the financial costs of a disability. In the El Paso area, contact Jon Sipes, Attorney at Law for a case review and to discuss how he can assist you and your family today.