I have a daughter with Angelman Syndrome. It is a rare-neurogenetic disorder. My daughter will require care for life. She will never be able to live on her own. As most parents of disabled kids know, your savings can be depleted in a matter of months. As a single Mom there was no way I could pay my daughter’s medical bills. I applied for SSI. My daughter’s disability is severe so we were accepted the first time we applied. That is not always the case. Here is what we learned about SSI:
1. If you are denied the first time, reapply. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 applications before someone is accepted. Once you are accepted however, you will not be re-evaluated for 2 years.
2. You must meet the income requirements. The figure is based on a calculation for child support and a calculation for earned income. The most you could possibly get is $603 per month if you had no income at all. The most important thing though is that you qualify for Medicaid, which pays all of the medical bills. Contact your local office to find out the requirements. I know one couple whose wife had to quit her job so they could get SSI for their daughter. Otherwise they were going to lose their house paying their daughters medical bills.
3. We have to report our income each month. Maybe because it is not a set salary and because child support is paid sporadically. That means our benefit amounts are different each month. Make sure you keep copies of all pay stubs and child support deposits.
4. You cannot own 2 vehicles and you cannot have more than $2,000 in savings or you will not qualify. I made the mistake of saving some money for my daughter in the beginning, but the money was used against her. I was advised to take the savings and use it on her each month rather than save any of the money.
5. If you disagree with any decisions made by the Social Security Office you have 60 days to ask for an appeal. When you request an appeal you must choose whether you want a Case Review or an Informal Conference. A Case Review is strictly on your the information in your file and any new information you have sent in. You will not meet anyone in person. An Informal Conference gives you the chance to tell the person who decides your case why you should get what you are asking for. You should bring as many facts as you have and any Doctors or witnesses who can confirm your case.
6. Never feel bad about calling up the office with your questions. They are there to help you and give you answers. I know I bug my case manager from time to time. This can also be a good thing. Some case managers have 100’s of cases and the more you contact them the quicker they will be able to put a face to the name.