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SSI benefits can help Wisconsin families who have disabled children

With the new school year about to start, many Wisconsin families will need to budget for school supplies, new clothes or uniforms, and fees for sports or extracurricular activities. Having children is certainly rewarding, but raising children can also be quite expensive.

Fortunately, many families only have to worry about the basic necessities when raising children such as food, clothing, shelter and child care or school costs. But some families are required to take on additional expenses they might not have ever anticipated. Families who have disabled children may need to budget for monthly medical treatment or therapy, additional schooling and education expenses and other expenses to better meet a child's special needs.

To make ends meet, families of disabled children may be eligible to obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits for children who are younger than 18. SSI benefits are awarded when children meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disabled, and when children and their parents or guardians have limited financial resources.

The application process for SSI payments can be complex. Parents often seek assistance from an attorney in order to make sure they fill out all of the necessary paperwork correctly and obtain all of the medical information that the SSA will need to review and approve an application.

When children suffer from a permanent disability, they may be able to receive monthly SSI payments until they reach the age of 18. When a disabled child nears the age of 18, families should be prepared for the SSA to conduct a disability review. During this review, the SSA will analyze the child's medical condition and use the same guidelines that are used to determine whether an adult is disabled and eligible for SSI payments. If a disabled 18-year-old is still eligible for SSI benefits, his or her benefits will be based on his or her own income rather than the entire family's financial resources.

In some cases, those who are 18 may even be eligible to obtain Social Security disability insurance benefits. Before filing an application for SSI or SSDI benefits for a disabled child, parents may want to consider working with an attorney to better understand the benefits their child is entitled to receive.

Source:, "Benefits for children with disabilities," June 2012

At our La Crosse law firm we represent individuals who wish to obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits for children younger than 18.

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Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC
123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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