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Supplemental Security Income helps many disabled children, adults

Raising a child who is living with a disability can be highly rewarding for Missouri parents, but it can also be more challenging than raising a kid without special needs. Among other things, it may cost more to pay for a disabled child’s medical bills and physical or occupational therapy.

Some families can afford to pay these costs with their household income, but others are struggling to make ends meet. Poverty is a major problem in the U.S., including here in Missouri. Parents who are not always able to pay for decent shelter, food and other necessities are going to have a very hard time affording their child’s disability care, even though they know it is necessary.

This is where the Supplemental Security Income program comes in. Also known as SSI, the Social Security Administration runs this benefit program for low-income families that include a disabled minor.

To qualify for benefits, the child must:

  • Be under 18
  • Have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets SSA’s definition of disability for children
  • Live in a household with income and resources within the allowed limits.

Some disabilities are so profound that children are not able to start working once they turn 18. SSA will continue to provide SSI benefits if:

  • The disability began before the applicant turned 22
  • The applicant’s parent’s work history qualifies him or her for Social Security and he or she is receiving retirement or disability benefits, or the parent is deceased.

Part of what defines a qualifying condition is one that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or will result in the applicant’s death.

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