Differences in the Requirements for Adult and Child Disability

Differences in the Requirements for Adult and Child Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires certain evidence that an individual is sufficiently disabled before it will grant disability benefits. The type of evidence differs depending on whether the individual is an adult or a child. Understanding the differences between the types of proof required can be important for individuals applying for SSA disability benefits.

Differences between Child and Adult Application

A child applying for SSA disability benefits will present records from his or her physicians, psychologists, or other health professionals regarding the child’s impairment(s). These reports or records will demonstrate the functional limitations that distinguish the child applying for benefits from non-disabled children in the areas of:

  1. Relating to other people
  2. Interacting with other people
  3. Acquiring information
  4. Using information
  5. Attending to tasks
  6. Completing tasks
  7. Moving about
  8. Manipulating objects
  9. Showing care for his or her own health and well-being

In making the determination, the SSA will examine standard medical records, but also the child’s school records, such as grades, intelligence testing results, achievement testing results, individualized education programs, and/or questionnaires completed by teachers. In addition, the SSA may give consideration to the child’s parents, caregivers, or social workers in explaining the child’s condition and limitations.

For adults who did not have a disability during their childhood, the evidence required by the SSA in order to obtain benefits are, in some instances, different from the requirements to obtain benefits as a child. The reason for this is because a child that may be disabled is very likely to have been born with the potentially disabling condition. In contrast, for an adult who is applying for benefits for the first time, it is very likely the condition developed over the course of the person’s life. As a result, the focus for children is usually how the child compares to other, non-disabled children. For adults, the comparison is usually to the abilities of the adult before the condition developed.

If the applicant has been employed, evidence demonstrating how the development of a condition has impaired the person’s ability to work will be required. The SSA will contrast the applicant’s current condition with his or her abilities in the past. If the person can no longer complete the work he or she did in the past and cannot perform similar work, the SSA will grant disability benefits. In contrast, a comparison between a child’s past abilities against his or her current abilities is usually not undertaken.

It is important to keep in mind that the SSA definition of disability is not a true medical definition. To qualify for SSA disability benefits, the condition must prevent the individual from working. As a result of this, a person may be considered disabled for conditions that may not rise to a medical definition of a disability. Additionally, the type of evidence required to demonstrate that disability will be different, as it generally relates to the effects the condition has on the ability to work.

Help with your Disabilities Claim

If you have any questions about applying for SSA disability benefits, you should speak with an experienced attorney at the Klok Law Firm LLC. We have the knowledge and experience to help you with any issues you have related to obtaining SSA disability benefits.