If your child has type 1 diabetes, your family might be eligible for financial assistance through disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers benefits for people of all ages who are unable to work or participate in typical childhood activities due to an illness. Childhood diabetes may medically qualify, but technical eligibility for disability benefits can be challenging to meet.
Medical Eligibility for Disability Benefits
The SSA maintains its own medical criteria for eligibility online, known colloquially as the Blue Book. There is an entire chapter of the Blue Book dedicated to qualifying for disability benefits with type 1 diabetes. The listing can be found in Section 109 of the Blue Book.
Under this listing, any child under age 6 will medically qualify for disability benefits if he or she requires insulin daily. So what if your child’s age 6 or older? Older children may still be eligible for disability benefits with type 1 diabetes, but the SSA will need a little more evidence proving the disability warrants aid. You can typically do this by showing your child has complications caused by diabetes.
For example, the SSA may approve older children with diabetes who also have cardiac arrhythmias, intestinal necrosis, or seizures. Older children may develop mood disorders like depression or anxiety, which are both qualifying conditions if the disorder is severe. A child needing 24-hour-per-day supervision due to diabetes will also qualify after age 6.
The entire Blue Book can be found online, so if your child is older than 6 but still requires daily insulin, simply review the Blue Book with your child’s pediatrician to determine if he or she would be eligible.
Technical Eligibility for Benefits
Children under age 18 are only eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI benefits. SSI is awarded to families with a dire financial need for help. This means that if your family’s monthly income is too high, you will not qualify. The larger your family, the higher your income limits.
For example, a single parent with one child couldn’t earn much more than $38,000 per year (before taxes) while qualifying for SSI. A two-parent household with three children, on the other hand, could earn up to $55,000. The SSA has a chart online outlining exactly how much your family can earn per month while still qualifying for SSI.
Unfortunately, income limits are the top reason why children with type 1 diabetes are denied benefits. The good news is that once your child turns 18, your income no longer counts towards his or her income limit, even if your child still lives at home.
Starting Your Application
The first step for any parent hoping to apply for disability benefits is to review the Child Disability Starter Kit online on the SSA’s website. Here you can find information on all the documents you’ll need on hand to successfully apply for SSI benefits.
To apply on behalf of a child, you’ll need to make an appointment with your local SSA office. There are 1,300 Social Security offices located across the country. Call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to apply at your closest office.
- Diabetes: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/diabetes-and-social-security-disability
- Blue Book for Childhood Diabetes: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/109.00-Endocrine-Childhood.htm#109_08
- All Childhood Listings: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/ChildhoodListings.htm
- SSI Family Income Limits: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm
- Nationwide SSA Offices: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations
- Child Disability Starter Kit: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits_child_eng.htm
This has been a guest post from Cendy Moliere
For more money-saving tips, read Tax tips for people with diabetes