How to Apply for Disability for a Mentally Ill Child

Dealing with a mentally ill child is devastating for families, both emotionally and financially. Finding financial support can be difficult, but help is available through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). A disabled child under 18 is defined as having severe functional limitations lasting at least a year. For an child over 18, SSA will only pay out only for a total disability that prevents him from working and lasts at least a year.

Applying for benefits

    Fill out an Application for Supplemental Security Income if your son is under age 18. You will be asked about your son’s illness and how it effects him. This form must be completed online. Call (800) 772-1213 to schedule an appointment or receive help filling out the application.

    Review SSA’s Child Disability Starter Kit; contact SSA to find out if your income is within the allowed limits; and fill out the online Child Disability Report, which will require you to allow SSA to speak with your son’s doctor.

    Complete an application for Social Security Benefits along with an Adult Disability Report, if your son is over 18. You can call (800) 772-1213 for help with your adult son’s disability application.

    The steps for an adult child are to review the Adult Disability Starter Kit, fill out the online application for Social Security Benefits; and fill out the online Adult Disability Report requiring you to allow Social Security to talk with your son’s doctor.

    Start with an internet appeal, If your son has recently been denied Social Security disability payments. You will need a Notice of Disapproved Claim, a Notice of Reconsideration or Notice of Federal Reviewing Official Decision.

Tips & Warnings

  • Talk to officials at a local Social Security office if there is one near you. They can help you through the disability application process.

  • Find a local support system to help you with the process, and to help you deal with the effects of your son’s illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is affiliated with 1,200 organizations throughout the country.

  • You must live in the U.S. or a U.S. territory to receive Social Security disability payments for your mentally ill child.

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