We often work with people from around the Detroit area who have a child with a disability, so we understand the challenges these parents face.

When we first meet them, a surprising number of our clients are not getting the maximum government benefits to which they are entitled. So, we thought a post introducing our readers to the two chief federal programs that parents of disabled children ought to know about might be helpful.

You never know — you might qualify for one of those programs, and wouldn’t the extra assistance be helpful?

  • Social Security Disability Insurance: This program does not kick in until later. If a child has turned 22, he or she may qualify for SSDI if at least one of his or her parents is already receiving SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits, or has died after working long enough to “pay into” the Social Security system, which usually means for at least 10 years.
  • Supplemental Security Income: This is a need-based, cash-assistance program for low-income families or disabled people. Children who are under 18 (or 22, if they are students) are eligibile for SSI if they have a “medically determinable” physical or mental limitation, that limitation will last for at least 12 months and the child earns less than $1,040 a month (if he or she is blind) or $1, 740 (if he or she is not are blind.)

Now, unfortunately, these programs are much more complicated than we are making them seem here and many applicants get frustrated with the whole porcess. The good news, though, is that help is available if you are interested in having someone guide you through the process. Many professionals who work with these programs have accumulated enough experience and know-how to be very useful.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Maximize Your Disabled Child’s Government Aid,” Jason Alderman, March 27, 2013