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Does sequential evaluation for SSI benefits apply to children?

Oklahomans who have a child under the age of 18 whom they believe should be eligible for Supplemental Security Income should understand certain basic facts about the process before they apply. One is that the basic tenets of applying for SSI benefits - the sequential evaluation - will apply to children just as it does to adults. Knowing the questions that will be asked based on sequential evaluation will provide a guideline as to whether the child meets the basic criteria and will allow the applicant to move forward with the process.

First, the Social Security Administration will ask if the child works. While it might sound unusual for a child who is blind or disabled to work, it does happen. If the child works and can perform substantial gainful activity, the process cannot move forward. SGA is defined the same way for children as it is for adults. If the child is not performing SGA, the SSA will then ask if there is a severe impairment. This means that the child must have a medically determinable mental or physical impairment or combination of impairments. The severity is also imperative. The child will not be considered disabled if there is not a sufficient impairment.

Step three will be the child's impairment and whether it meets, medically equals or functionally equals a listing. The listings detail the impairments and if a child has one, that should be sufficient. However, the impairment can equal the listings in combination or be comparable to an issue that is already there. Then, the SSI benefits can be approved. The SSA will ask questions about how the child functions compared to other children the same age without an impairment; what kind of help the child needs to perform age-appropriate activities; and if there are effects of treatment on the child's daily functioning. Acquiring information, attending to and completing tasks, interacting and relating to others, moving and manipulating objects, self-care, and the maintenance of health and well-being are all considered.

Parents who are considering applying for SSI benefits for their child should understand these basic factors that will be vital to the case. Before moving forward, it is wise to consult with an attorney who is experienced in SSI Supplemental Security Income to know the various requirements for a child to get SSI and to ensure that the process is done correctly.

Source: ssa.gov, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income If You Are Disabled Or Blind - 2017 Edition," accessed on Feb. 6, 2018

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