When a child is born with a physical or mental illness, it can be extremely difficult on the child’s family. The child’s parents can be thrust into a life of therapies and doctor appointments that they never expected in order to give their child the best life possible. Many of these medical treatments can be costly and time consuming. Many parents have to sacrifice their own careers to ensure that their child is properly cared for. This combination can wreak havoc on the family’s finances.
Thankfully, in some cases, these families can qualify for federal disability benefits to help cover some of the costs of raising a disabled child. Specifically in Pennsylvania, for example, five percent of financially eligible children with mental impairments, like ADHD, receive disability benefits. However, qualifying for these benefits and filing for disability benefits is not always easy.
In fact, according to reports, it’s not always fair either. Recently, a report has found that federal disability benefits for children with mental conditions is not equally distributed among the states. In other words, data shows that the standards for approving applications for disability claims is not the same everywhere. This is particularly true for the Supplemental Security Income program for children whose parents have extremely limited resources.
The report did not examine the specific reasons for the discrepancy. However, officials are calling for more research to try and determine why applications in some states are approved at higher rates than others.
Dealing with a mental condition in a child can be a frustrating and exhausting process. Parents in Pennsylvania need to understand that they have legal rights that help to ensure that they are given these benefits. With the right help, people can exercise these rights and get the financial help their children need.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Report calls for research on how SSI funds are granted,” Patricia Wen, Sept. 9, 2015