Nov 5, 2013

It's Tough To Get On SSI Child's Benefits

     The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child's benefit program. Despite what you've heard, it's tough to get on benefits. How tough? So tough that most Social Security attorneys refuse to take on any SSI child case.


Anonymous said...

This child's claim was denied because she is not disabled. As far as living in poverty, her father needs to get 2 jobs. Laid off from a fast food job? The fast food industry is hiring, not laying off - unless you are not a hard worker. Parents, support your own children. I did!

Anonymous said...

Why would an attorney or rep refuse a child who is deserving?

In my experience with the program, I would agree its tough to get approved. However, parents who had children with legitimate conditions and had docent action from medical professionals got approved at a much higher rate. Unfortunately, at least in my area, the average SSI children's interview goes like this:

Q: What's the child's medical condition?
A: ADHD or learning disability or lead poisoning

Q: when were they diagnosed?
A: I don't know. He/she was born like that.

And then it continues to go downhill from there. Despite having insurance for the child (usually 95% of the time) there is usually no documentation. Then you either have the patent refusing medication for the kid or trying every medication out there. All of this to get $710.00 per month? And let's not forget, most families consist of single mothers, no education, no job and 2-4 kids. When one kids gets approved, then you get applications for ALL the other kids to try and "bolster" that household income.

It should be hard to get on SSI. What really gets me is that there are so many frivolous claims filed, it really muddies the waters for the deserving. That's what is really sad.

Peter said...

I always understood part of the issue with SSI claims was a lack of financial incentive (benefits only accrue from the app date, for starters). Do the attorneys you reference who reject all child SSI cases accept any adult SSI-only (non-concurrent) cases?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:53.

You're mostly right, the "pot" from which the 25% can be taken is considerably smaller for child SSI as they typically don't get the full SSI amount available to adults. Couple that with the relative lack of evidence in most cases (aka, lack of merit in the claim) leads most attorneys to choose not to play the numbers games with child SSI as it simply doesn't pay off.

In other words, lower success rate times lower ultimate fee results in a decision to turn down those type of cases. But those same attorneys will go on and on about how they are doing all they can to help people in bad situations.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of what's been said here. Reps don't take kid cases because there are no significant back benefits and because a kid's case that needs a rep at the hearing level is a loser, statistically speaking

Anonymous said...

We don't take children's cases. The few calls we get about them we don't take. The unit cost of adding the part to our practice just doesn't make economic sense.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I have been repping child's cases for years but still learned something. Especially the fact that 2/3 of SSI cases are mental.

I see the points of all the above arguments. Usually there are only 2 ways to win child's cases 1. meet/equal a listing 2. the 6 domains.

I understand the financial difficulty of taking a child's case. Luckily my firm takes them but most of the time it is very hard to win.

To Anon 9:20, it is very easy to say all parents should have the resources to take care of a child. But with a severe child disability (e.g. autism, cancer, etc.), even rich parents need help. It usually takes a village.

Anonymous said...

Why would you have children if you can't dare for them? I can see one child, things happen and I'm not for aborting a baby just because. The problem is, why have 2 or 3 or 4 or 8 ( I've seen it - rare but 8 kids, 5 plus the mother got SSI). That's $4,260/mo and $51,120/yr - not taxed. I'm not for throwing them out, but their needs to at least be a household cap!

Anonymous said...

We completely stopped taking child's SSI cases a few years ago and we took very few for years before that.

Fortunately, a young but experienced Social Security attorney in our area is starting her own practice and does take these cases. We now refer all calls to her and the parents calling are grateful for the referral.

Anyone willing to take on child's cases would not have any problem getting business. Just let other practitioners in your area know you will take these cases and they will refer all these cases to you.

Anonymous said...

The complexity of the child disability standard makes it difficult for the average unrepresented parent to know if they have a legitimate claim when they file. Indeed, for all but the most obvious cases, it takes a fair amount of digging before a rep or an SSA adjudicator can know if a kids' SSI claim has significant merit. That being the case, there is no easy shortcut.

I can see why the private bar shies away from these cases, given they are likely to have to write off a lot of uncompensated time spent evaluating and developing evidence for the relatively larger number of claims that don't pan out in the end. With fewer private attorneys available to help develop the evidence in such cases, it shifts a significant burden onto SSA and DDS staff, who are already quite busy.