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Medicaid and Social Security disability standards can disagree

The onset of a disability is never a welcome event, but it can be particularly devastating in childhood. A recent profile of a 2-year-old who was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting her left arm illustrates the financial problems that can face parents trying to care for disabled children.

In this particular case, the diagnosis was Klumpke’s palsy, for which there is no cure. Medicaid covers some of the family’s expenses. However, some commentators estimate that treatment and corollary expenses for disabled children may cost an additional $6,000 to $20,000 beyond medical costs -- and beyond Medicaid coverage.

The girl’s parents applied for Supplemental Security Income assistance from the Social Security Administration. However, their application was denied, for reasons that remain unclear.

The disability standard employed by the SSA is indeed strict. Only around four in every ten applications for disability benefits are successful -- even after an applicant has exhausted available appeals. In the case of SSI benefits, there is also an income ceiling.

However, an attorney can also explore the possibility of whether a disabled individual might qualify for both SSI benefits and Social Security disability insurance payments. If an individual has not yet applied for Medicaid or other state benefits, a disability attorney might also provide advice for those applications.

The disability standard and requirements are different for each program, as evidenced by this post. An individual may be found disabled by one program but not another. Nevertheless, an attorney that specializes in this area of law might have strategies for streamlining the process of seeking assistance from all available sources.

Source: articles.philly.com, “Disability of 2-year-old raises questions on federal aid programs,” Alfred Lubrano, Nov. 5, 2013

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