Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Children with disabilities are entitled to Supplemental Security Income benefits, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common basis for claims.

While ADHD can be a disabling condition, either alone or in combination with other physical and mental conditions, the diagnosis alone is not sufficient to support a claim for SSI. Children with ADHD, who are prescribed medication for the condition and who are able to function appropriate in school are not candidates for SSI, but what of those children who do exhibit difficulty in school and at home, despite medication?

These children are evaluated by Social Security for their functional abilities in six areas: acquiring and using information; attending and completing tasks; interacting and relating with others; moving about and manipulating objects; caring for oneself; and health and physical well-being. For many of these areas, the child’s school teacher is the best reference. Teachers are asked to complete forms and submit the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) regarding the child’s in-class behavior, demeanor, attitude, attention and performance. If a child has an extreme limitation in one area or a marked limitation in two or more areas, they should be found disabled. Marked limitations interfere seriously with the child’s functioning, such as severe inattention, behavior problems, or problems with impulse control. School counselors, psychiatrists and nurses are also good sources of information. Consider your child’s school arrangement, for example, a self-contained special education classroom, when applying for benefits.

When a child’s case goes to hearing, the Seventh Circuit requires that the Administrative Law Judge not only discuss evidence regarding the six areas listed above that both supports and detracts from his conclusion, he must also discuss the Listings related to the child’s condition. If he neglects to discuss this in his decision, the case may be remanded to him for further analysis.


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