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As complex as a social security disability or SSI case is for an adult, it is even more complicated when pursuing these benefits for a child. Just as with adults, Social Security has a specific methodology and law for evaluating disability cases where the claimant is under 18.

Just as with adult cases, Social Security looks to “the listings” when deciding whether a child is medically disabled. “Listings” are set criteria designated for specific conditions. When each element of a listing is satisfied, the child is automatically disabled. Although the children’s listings cover many of the same conditions as the adult listings, the criteria and severity required to be found disabled are different. There are also differences between the requirements for infants, toddlers, and teenagers. The listings are very detailed and convoluted.

If a child doesn’t meet a listing, that child may still be found disabled. In such cases, Social Security will evaluate a child’s condition in the context of the “Domains.” The domains are areas of functioning, and social security is evaluating the child’s restrictions in each “domain.”

The “domains” are:

  • Acquiring and using information
  • Attending and completing tasks
  • Interacting and relating with others
  • Moving about and manipulating objects
  • Caring for yourself
  • Health and Physical well-being

For a child, who does not meet a listing, to be found medically disabled, he or she must have a “marked limitation” in two of the domains or an “extreme limitation” in one. A “marked limitation” is a “serious” limitation in that domain of functioning. An extreme limitation goes further than marked. These terms are defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a

This article is an overly simplified explanation of the rules pertaining to Social Security disability or SSI cases for children. The reality is the rules become far more involved and complicated. It is always best to hire an attorney to handles these types of cases.

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