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How A Child Can Qualify For Social Security Benefits For Mental Health Services

Nora Kim
June 25, 2019

Children who experience abuse may require help to recover. Parents who want to help their child recover often have to choose between working to pay for living expenses and medical treatment or being there for their child after the child has been abused. Children who suffer from ongoing medical problems after abuse can qualify for Supplemental Security Income which will give the parents money to help pay for additional treatment for the child or living expenses so that their child can focus on healing. Here’s a little more information on how your child could qualify for benefits offered by the Social Security Administration:

Medically Qualifying For Supplemental Security Income After Abuse

Children who are traumatized can develop a number of serious health problems. Often physical and mental conditions occur together. A child may develop chronic pain as well as display the symptoms of PTSD and chronic after stress. Or a child could develop OCD after trauma. Some of the health problems and symptoms that are often seen in children who have been abused include:

  • hypervigilance
  • anxiety, depression
  • aggression or withdrawal
  • poor academic performance
  • frequent absences
  • weight loss or weight gain
  • sleeping difficulty with frequent nightmares
  • poor hygiene
  • appearing fatigued

All of these symptoms can contribute to a child’s eligibility for disability benefits. The conditions that qualify a child to receive SSI benefits can all be found online in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. The Blue Book lists all of the conditions that affect children who have been abused and what criteria must be met in order to qualify for benefits. For example, in order to qualify for SSI benefits a child with PTSD would need to demonstrate symptoms like the following:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Easy startle response
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Medical documentation of the child’s condition is required in order for the application to be approved. Statements from people who know the child and can talk about the severity of the child’s symptoms like counselors, therapists, police, teachers, and more can also be submitted with the application for SSI for the child. The more medical evidence you have on your side showing how your child’s life has been affected, the more likely he or she is to be approved.

Parents Need To Qualify Financially

The child needs to medically qualify for SSI benefits, while the parents need to qualify financially. There are income limits that apply to SSI benefits because SSI was created to help low-income families who are struggling to provide the care and treatment their child or children need.

In order to qualify for Supplemental Security Income, your total household income cannot exceed the income limits listed by the SSA. The income cap is set on a sliding scale that changes depends on how many adults live in the home and what their combined income is. When you submit an application for SSI for your child you will need to submit financial documents like your federal taxes for the previous year, W-2s, pay stubs, and other documents.

Apply For Supplemental Security Income

When you’re ready to apply for SSI you will need to find your local SSA office and make an appointment. At your appointment, an employee will help you fill out the application and make sure that you have all the documentation you should submit with the application.

Helpful Links


SSA Blue Book:

Income Limits:

Medical Evidence:

More On SSI:

SSA Offices:  


Information provided by the Disability Benefits Center.

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