RGG Law Works with Childhood Disability

AdminSocial Security Disability

It is possible for a child (defined as anyone under the age of 18) to apply for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. This would typically be a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. RGG Law disability attorneys can work with you and your child if they are eligible.

A child, obviously, does not have an earnings record of their own upon which they can rely to be eligible under Title II of the Act. There are some exceptions to this, but, generally, a child’s claim is going to be an SSI claim.

The medical criteria RGG Law needs to win a child’s disability case is different from that of an adult. In the case of a child, there is a shortened “sequential evaluation process,” as there is no need ordinarily to determine if a child is currently working, whether the work reaches the level of substantial gainful activity and whether there are acquired skills from past relevant work.

In a child’s case, RGG Law needs you to undergo three steps: 1. determine if your child “meets” a listing; 2. determine if your child “equals” a listing; and, if no listing is met or equaled, 3. determine if your child “functionally equals” a listing.

The Social Security Administration publishes in its regulations a literal list of medical disorders broken down into 14 categories divided according to body systems, both physical and mental. There are adult and childhood versions of these listings.

If the evidence of record shows the exact criteria set forth in these listings is met, then an automatic finding of disabled should follow. If the evidence of record is such that a qualified medical expert opines that a listing is equaled, or that the evidence reflects limitations just as severe in nature as the listing sets forth, then a finding of disabled should follow. However, most cases are not resolved by resorting to the exact criteria of the listings.

Most cases with child claimants are resolved at the third step, where the agency must determine if the child’s medical problems functionally equal the listings. This is done by evaluating a child’s limitations in six categories known as domains. The six domains are:

  1. Acquiring and Using Information
  2. Attending and Completing Tasks
  3. Interacting and Relating To Others
  4. Moving About and Manipulating Objects
  5. Caring For Oneself
  6. General Health and Well Being

Each of the six categories is defined with greater precision in the regulations and can vary according to various age groupings and the level of functioning considered appropriate for that age group.

In order to be found disabled using these domains, the evidence must support at least a “marked” limitation in two of these six domains, or an “extreme” limitation in one of them.

Obviously, therefore, a child does not have to be limited in every single category, or even a majority of them. What matters is the degree of limitation noted.

The opinions of parents, other family members, teachers, counselors, principals, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians and other health care or education specialists are considered in determining the degree of limitation for each category.

RGG Law Can Help You in a Childhood Disability Case

If you need any help throughout the process, contact RGG Law. The disability attorney lawyers at RGG Law have years of experience working with all types of disability cases.