Many children with attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder were once thought of as unruly children who needed stronger discipline than their classmates. Fortunately, these children are now viewed with greater compassion. Their frequently impulsive and hyperactive behavior is now usually seen as a symptom of a problematic brain chemistry disorder. Teens and adults also often suffer from this disability that can rob them of the type of concentrated focus required for success in academic and professional settings later in life.
Fortunately, the medical community has succeeded in finding medications (considered controversial to some) that can help children calm down and stay more focused while learning or in other typical childhood environments. However, there will always be some children who are so disabled by ADHD that they may need to have their parents file for disability benefits on their behalf. These most highly afflicted ADHD sufferers can use these benefits to try and obtain the added special care that can help them function more productively.
Getting Disability Benefits for a Child with ADHD
The social security administration (SSA) has created a Web page especially for those filing for benefits on behalf of children under the age of 18. On this page, you will find a helpful checklist of documents and records you’ll need to make available to the SSA while filing your claim. Be sure to alert all of your child’s treating physicians, therapists and teachers about your child’s disability claim so they can begin creating the type of valuable reports that may help your child qualify for benefits, based on his or her current level of functioning.
Be sure you fully understand the various aspects of your child’s particular form of ADHD since the SSA will probably expect you to be highly familiar with the disease.
Filing a Disability Claim
When filing a disability (SSDI) claim, you have a choice to do so over the phone, in person or online. Those seeking ssi benefits cannot file online and must speak directly with Social Security Administration officials. Applicants for SSI benefits must also be ready to produce comprehensive information about their current financial status. (A child’s caregivers may need to share their financial information as well).
If you are applying on behalf of your child, be sure to carefully review all of the special information provided online about such filings. If you do not have ready access to the Internet on a computer, you can also call and speak to your local social security office – these numbers are often listed in the front of some phonebooks in the “blue” or government pages.
Your child’s pediatrician, psychiatrist and other professionals will all need to provide their professional opinions about your child’s ADHD so you can try and successfully pursue a disability claim. School officials familiar with your child’s classroom behavior (or test results) may also need to provide their reports.
It will probably be necessary to prove that your child is so disabled by his or her ADHD diagnosis that functioning in many normal academic or other developmental environments is no longer possible or highly problematic.
Keep in mind that it can take many months – even up to two years – to obtain disability benefits for your child. Unfortunately, many applicants never succeed in this quest.
Appealing a Denied Claim
Since losing at the initial filing stage is quite common, applicants (or those filing on their behalf) should not get discouraged and should seriously consider hiring a Social Security lawyer to help them pursue their child’s appeal. There are several different paths an appeal can take and a legal professional can explain all of the procedural steps and appellate filing requirements to you.
Using a Social Security Lawyer
filing for disability benefits can be simplified if an applicant will hire an attorney once their initial request has been turned down. (Most lawyers will not accept these types of disability cases until that time).
Who Pays for the Attorney?
Keep in mind, you do not have to pay attorneys in these types of cases when you first hire them – they generally obtain their fees out of the back payment funds the Social Security Administration usually owes you when your claim is finally granted. In addition, if a lawyer cannot secure any benefits for you, you should not be contractually bound to pay anything for that attorney’s services.