I met an out of town couple about a month ago who had a teenage son with Autism. Their financial situation wasn't dire so they had never seriously looked into Social Security Disability. But after finding out I was a Disability attorney, they had a million questions for me about whether their son would qualify. This made me realize how much people truly do not know how the process works and whether their child is eligible.
For a child to qualify for disability, there are essentially two separate parts. The child must first financially qualify. Social Security has a complex formula to determine if the parents' finances are low enough to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If the parents do qualify financially, Social Security will then determine if the child's disabilities are severe enough to qualify for SSI. Since a child is not claiming their disability limits their ability to work, Social Security considers how much the child's ability to function is impaired due to his disability. Unfortunately, this is also a complicated evaluation with a number of factors varying for each case.