A former Georgia family that used to provide care for their disabled child at home encountered more obstacles when they moved to a neighboring state. Their disabled child requires 24-hour care, and Georgia allowed them to use their federal benefits assistance for home-care, rather than going to an institution. The neighboring state, however, did not offer that same flexibility.
Many parents agree that the less restrictive setting of family-centered care is more beneficial to their disabled children than institutional settings. By caring for their disabled children at home, parents are better positioned to make decisions about the kind of care that should be provided. For example, disabled children may receive private sessions with health care or special education professionals, while benefitting from a stable, secure home environment. The approach also provides greater access to community life, and may ease the transition into adulthood as disabled children begin to incorporate more vocational training into their disability programs.
One way that parents can achieve home-centered care is through Supplemental Security Income. The program, administered by the Social Security Administration, provides families of qualifying children with income supplements.
However, the vast majority of disabled children are not receiving SSI benefits. Although about 6.6 million school-age children in the United States have one or more chronic health conditions that limit their activities, only about 1.3 million receive SSI assistance.
Part of that disparity may be attributed to the SSA's strict definition of childhood disability and income restrictions. To qualify, a child must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in severe functional limitations. In addition, the disabled child must live in a household with very low-income and less than $3,000 in assets. In fact, more than one-third of children receiving SSI benefits have family incomes below the federal poverty line.
If you have questions about your child's potential eligibility for SSI benefits, an attorney can help you prepare a successful application.
Source: knoxvillenews.com, "Waiver would provide at-home care to chronically disabled children," Kristi L. Nelson, Sept. 16, 2012
· Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Augusta Supplemental Security Income Lawyers page.