If your child has a severe speech disorder, your family may be eligible for financial resources. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for people of all ages who cannot work (or in your child’s case, participate in typical childhood activities) due to a disability. Children applying for benefits will need to meet both medical and technical criteria for disability benefits.
Technical Eligibility for Disability
All children will qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. These benefits are only awarded to the most financially needy families, so if you or a spouse earns a decent wage, your child will not qualify for benefits. The larger your family, the higher your monthly income limit will be.
For example, a single parent with one child will not be able to earn more than $38,000 per year in 2018 and still qualify for SSI benefits. On the other hand, a two-parent family of five could earn up to $55,000 per year and still qualify. You can view a chart on the SSA’s website to determine what your unique household income limit is. Unfortunately, technical eligibility is the top reason why children are denied SSI benefits. If this happens to your family, consider reapplying once your child turns 18. At that point your income will no longer count against your child, even if he or she still lives at home.
Medical Criteria for Disability
The SSA maintains its own manual for disability eligibility, known colloquially as the Blue Book. If your child has symptoms or test results that are the same as another listing, he or she will medically qualify for disability benefits. There currently is not a listing for stuttering in the childhood version of the Blue Book, but there is a speech impairment component of the hearing loss listing. Under this listing, your child could qualify if:
Starting Your Application
If you are applying for SSI benefits you must apply in person at your closest Social Security office. To make an appointment to apply in person, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213. It should take three to five months to hear back from the SSA regarding your child’s claim.