• youBelong Staff

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits - Individuals with Down syndrome

If your child has Down syndrome, he or she may be eligible for financial assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for people of all ages with disabilities that prevent them from maintaining gainful employment. The vast majority of people with Down syndrome will automatically medically qualify for disability benefits.

Technically Qualifying For Disability

All people with Down syndrome will qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. These benefits are only available for the most financially needy applicants. For example, an adult with Down syndrome cannot have more than $2,000 in saved income, and cannot earn more than $750 per month in 2018.

Parents applying on behalf of a child with Down syndrome will have income limitations as well, but they won’t be as strict. The larger your family is, the higher your income limit. For example, a single parent with one child could not earn more than $38,000 per year and still qualify, while a two-parent family of five could earn more than $55,000 per year. You can view a chart on the SSA’s website to help calculate your family’s specific monthly income limit.

Unfortunately, income is the top reason why children are denied benefits with Down syndrome. The good news is once your child turns 18 your income will no longer count towards the SSI income limit, even if your child still lives at home with you.

Medically Qualifying with Down syndrome

The SSA has a guide on disability approval, outlining which test results or symptoms you need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.  Down syndrome is listed as a qualifying condition, and anyone with Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome will qualify with a karyotype analysis, or a doctor’s note stating that a karyotype analysis was performed in the past and your child has all the physical and intellectual signs of having Down syndrome.

Those with Mosaic Down syndrome (about 2% of the Down syndrome population) will have a harder time qualifying. To be approved with Mosaic Down syndrome, you’ll need to meet a different listing for approval. Qualifying conditions include heart problems, communication difficulty, vision or hearing loss, and more.

The SSA’s entire guide for medical approval can be found online, so you can review it with your child’s doctor if your child has Mosaic Down syndrome and you’re concerned about approval.

Starting Your Application

If you’re applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a child of any age, you’ll need to do so at your closest Social Security office. You can call the SSA to make an appointment to apply in person at 1-800-772-1213. It typically takes six months for the SSA to process a claim, but because most people with Down syndrome medically qualify your child could be approved in a matter of weeks.

Helpful Links:

SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

SSI Income Limits for Children: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm

List of SSA Offices: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations

Qualifying Conditions: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm