Q: My son lost his SSI benefits when he was 3 due to child support. Will it be hard to qualify for SSI when he turns 18?
He is a brain tumor survivor. We lost his SSI benefit (and more importantly, his Medicaid) when his absent father started making child support payments when my son turned 3. He is now 14, and I am planning for his post high school years. When he turns 18, the child support payments end. Will it be difficult for him to qualify for SSI when he turns 18? He has nocturnal seizures, a speech impediment, right-side muscle weakness, and mild cardiomyopathy from the chemotherapy. Should he at least be able to qualify while he pursues his college education? Thank you and regards,
A: I am sorry to hear that your son lost his SSI benefits due to an income/resource issue. Since SSI is a needs based program, there are limits to the amount of countable income/resources. I strongly urge you to contact a disability attorney now to consult about establishing an Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) account for your son and again establishing SSI eligibility. ABLE became law on December 19, 2014. A practical use for an ABLE account is for shielding child support and other such income from being counted so that eligibility for SSI is protected. An ABLE account is flexible enough that payments deposited into the account can easily be used to pay for many of the expenses a child may have. For some background see, https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-able.html.
At age 18, your son would have eligibility determined under the adult standards. It would be a good idea to consult with a disability attorney prior to that time.
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