Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Children with Disabilities

Social Security Column

Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Children with Disabilities

By Erin Thompson
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH

Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash payments to children with disabilities whose families have limited income and resources.  A child must meet the following medical requirements to be considered disabled under Social Security rules:

  • The child must have a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, that results in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must seriously limit the child’s activities.
  • The child’s disabling condition(s) must last for at least 12 months, or the condition(s) must be expected to end in death.

We also help children through our Compassionate Allowances program.  Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standard for disability benefits.  The list can be found at  Compassionate Allowances help us reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for children with the most serious disabilities.  Thousands of children receive benefits because they have a condition on this list, but children with conditions not on this list can still qualify for SSI.

A child must meet additional eligibility requirements for low income and limited resources to qualify for SSI.  To qualify, a child:

  • Who is blind must not be working or earning more than $2,190 a month in 2021.
  • Who is not blind, must not be working or earning more than $1,310 a month in 2021.

Earnings amounts usually change every year.  Some older teenagers may have part-time jobs or be involved in work programs, which Social Security will count for financial eligibility.

In addition, if an unmarried child under age 18 is living at home, Social Security may consider some of the parents’ income as the child’s income.  We make allowances for the parents and their other children living in the home when we consider the parents’ income.  You can read more about children’s benefits in our publication, Benefits for Children with Disabilities at

If you are a parent or know a parent, guardian, caregiver, or representative of a child you think may be eligible, visit our Disability Benefits-Apply for a Child (Under Age 18) at to learn more and begin an application.

Replacement or Corrected Social Security Cards During the COVID-19

Social Security offices are currently open only for in-person appointments for limited, critical situations, depending upon local office conditions.  However, you can continue to apply for a replacement Social Security card online and by mail.  Before requesting a replacement card, please remember that you might not need the physical card.  Most of the time, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough.

If you have a critical situation that requires you to have a physical card and you cannot apply by mail or online, you should call your local Social Security office.  Please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates page for more information at

Applying Online

If you don’t need any changes to your Social Security Number record (such as a name or date of birth change), applying for a replacement card online is your most convenient option.  You don’t need to mail proof or visit an office.

You can use our online application if you are an adult, have a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, and live in the District of Columbia or one of the 45 States that verifies State-issued documents for us.  All you need to do is create a my Social Security account to access and complete the online application at

If you live in one of the five States that do not participate — Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and West Virginia — know that we are working hard to bring this service to you as soon as possible.

Applying by Mail

We require proof of your identity with your replacement card application (, usually a State-issued drivers’ license or non-driver identification card, or U.S. passport.  We call these documents “primary” identity proofs.  We understand mailing primary identity proofs with your replacement card application can be challenging.  To help, we are temporarily expanding our policy to accept alternative identity documents—or what we call “secondary proofs” — when you cannot mail primary proof.

Acceptable secondary proofs include, but are not limited to:

  • Employee identification card.
  • School identification card.
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card).
  • S. military identification card.

These proofs must be current (not expired), show your name and identifying information (such as your date of birth or age), and be an original or a certified copy.

If you need to change your name, when you mail your replacement card application, you will need to submit proof of identity plus proof of the name change.  The proof of identity can be primary or secondary proof.  Proof of the name change could be a marriage certificate, divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name, or a court order approving the name change.

You may be able to submit one document to serve as proof of your name change and identity.  For example, you may submit a marriage certificate as proof of name change and identity if the certificate shows the marriage occurred within the prior two years and:

  • Includes your prior name.
  • Includes your age, birth date or parents’ names.
  • This information matches your Social Security Number record.

We will return any documents you send us.

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Social Security Column

Social Security supports teachers online

By Erin Thompson

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH


The past year has been difficult for everyone, including educators and their students.  Our nation’s teachers have adapted, pivoted, and provided for their students in ways they had never imagined possible.  This year, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week from May 2 through May 8, and honor all educators who prepare our children for the future.

We know that well-informed instructors can have a powerful and positive influence on their students.  That’s why we created an Educator Toolkit.  It’s a shareable online resource for teachers to engage students and educate them on Social Security.  The toolkit includes:

  • Lesson plans with objectives.
  • Infographics and handouts for each lesson plan.
  • Links to Social Security web pages.
  • Talking points.
  • Quiz questions and answers.

You can access the toolkit at

We value and welcome the efforts all teachers make to educate America’s young people.  We want to help spark discussion with students about Social Security.  Please share our toolkit with the educators in your communities, today!