Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits- Individuals with Down syndrome

If your child has Down syndrome, he or she may be eligible for financial assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for people of all ages with disabilities that prevent them from maintaining gainful employment. The vast majority of people with Down syndrome will automatically medically qualify for disability benefits.

Technically Qualifying For Disability

All people with Down syndrome will qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. These benefits are only available for the most financially needy applicants. For example, an adult with Down syndrome cannot have more than $2,000 in saved income, and cannot earn more than $750 per month in 2018.

Parents applying on behalf of a child with Down syndrome will have income limitations as well, but they won’t be as strict. The larger your family is, the higher your income limit. For example, a single parent with one child could not earn more than $38,000 per year and still qualify, while a two-parent family of five could earn more than $55,000 per year. You can view a chart on the SSA’s website to help calculate your family’s specific monthly income limit.

Unfortunately, income is the top reason why children are denied benefits with Down syndrome. The good news is once your child turns 18 your income will no longer count towards the SSI income limit, even if your child still lives at home with you.

Medically Qualifying with Down syndrome

The SSA has a guide on disability approval, outlining which test results or symptoms you need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.  Down syndrome is listed as a qualifying condition, and anyone with Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome will qualify with a karyotype analysis, or a doctor’s note stating that a karyotype analysis was performed in the past and your child has all the physical and intellectual signs of having Down syndrome.

Those with Mosaic Down syndrome (about 2% of the Down syndrome population) will have a harder time qualifying. To be approved with Mosaic Down syndrome, you’ll need to meet a different listing for approval. Qualifying conditions include heart problems, communication difficulty, vision or hearing loss, and more.

The SSA’s entire guide for medical approval can be found online, so you can review it with your child’s doctor if your child has Mosaic Down syndrome and you’re concerned about approval.

Starting Your Application

If you’re applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a child of any age, you’ll need to do so at your closest Social Security office. You can call the SSA to make an appointment to apply in person at 1-800-772-1213. It typically takes six months for the SSA to process a claim, but because most people with Down syndrome medically qualify your child could be approved in a matter of weeks.

Helpful Links:

SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

SSI Income Limits for Children: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm

List of SSA Offices: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations

Qualifying Conditions: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

Submitted to CDSPG in June 2018 by

Deanna Power drp@ssd-help.org

Director of Outreach

Disability Benefits Help at Social Security Administration

Developmental Disability Day in Annapolis: Advocates Vital Update

by Jay and Melissa Silverman

Self-Advocate Melissa Silverman and Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11)

Self-Advocate Melissa Silverman and Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11)

Eight hundred attended the Developmental Disability Day in Annapolis on February 22, 2018.  This was the largest group to attend DD Day and the largest coalition of any group to ascend Annapolis this year.  Included in the group were CDSPG’s Jay and Melissa Silverman.

Governor Hogan’s proposed FY19 budget includes a 1% rate increase for developmental disability services, rather than the 3.5% mandated by the Minimum Wage act of 2014.  That means that while the State minimum wage rate will increase by $0.85 on July 1, 2018, the reimbursement rate for direct support staff will actually decrease by $0.02.  Melissa explained to her senator and delegates that, “It is hard to find and keep good job coaches.”  Delegate Shelly Hettleman (D, district 11) spoke at the opening meeting before the 800 participants headed to meet their legislators.         

 Del. Hettleman along with Sen. Rich Madaleno (D, district 18 Montgomery Co) are the lead sponsors of HB664/SB543, the only minimum wage bill to address the critical need for funding for DD services.                   

Another issue we asked our representatives to support was the SB550/HB782 Death of a Designated Beneficiary for the ABLE ACT.  As of now, the remaining funds of an ABLE account will be given to the State on the death of the individual.  This bill will allow the beneficiary of the account to designate where the remaining funds should be distributed.

The governor’s budget does include funds for the 165 people on the State’s Waiting List in the Crisis Resolution category and for the 613 youth who are graduating this year for employment and day services.  We encouraged our representatives to support these budget issues.

2017 NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington

2017 NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington

The National Down Syndrome Society held its annual Buddy Walk on DC the week of April 4, 2017.  There were about 350 people from 38 states that walked the halls ofCongress, visiting their congressional leaders.  CDSPG had 2 families lobbying on behalf of our families, Justin & Kimberly Waszkiewicz, along with baby Nora from Havre de Grace and CDSPG Board member Melissa Silverman and Jay Silverman from Owings Mills.

Adults with DS Make Their Mark: A Report from the NDSC Convention

Adults with DS Make Their Mark: A Report from the NDSC Convention

This year’s National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) convention was held on July 21-24 in Orlando, Florida, and I was eager to see what new and emerging trends I would find. The disabilities world is currently experiencing a wave of public awareness, policy changes, and technology and business innovation. A forum like the NDSC convention is the perfect place to feature some of these changes.

I Pledge To Be a Face and Voice for Down Syndrome

As I’m writing this President’s Post, sitting in the comfort of my bed on this rainy Tuesday, Governor Hogan is signing Maryland’s ABLE Act before witnesses who championed the bill since its infancy. And, on the national front, hundreds of individuals with Down syndrome and their families and friends from across the country are meeting with members of Congress and their staff as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk on Washington.

DSAIA, Delivering Doughnuts, and Down Syndrome

This month, I attended the Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA) leadership conference in Charlotte, N.C., with fellow board member and First Call Director Anna Fulbright. It was an amazing experience of networking and learning from some of the best and brightest DS affiliate leaders in order to provide better service to Baltimore’s Down syndrome community.

Post-secondary Education: The “future” is right around the corner!

Post-secondary Education: The “future” is right around the corner!

The State of the Art Conference is a two-day conference devoted to the topic of postsecondary education (PSE) for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Recognizing the critical importance of this emerging field, CDSPG became a sponsor for this year’s conference. Yvonne Hu-Cotto and Claire Holmes, along with her son Charlie,  represented CDSPG and were able to network with professionals and advocates from across the nation.