Report: Many families don't seek SSI for mentally ill children

When people in Laurel think of someone who is mentally ill, they picture an adult, not a child. Yet the fact is that thousands of children in the U.S. struggle with some form of mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, severe anxiety and bipolar. For the families whose income level falls around the poverty line, caring for a child with this type of disability can be filled with challenges.

In 2013, about half of the 1.3 million children on Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program qualified under a mental illness. However, a committee with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine points out that families may be unaware that this assistance is available to them. The committee also stated that the rate of mental illness is higher in poor children than in children whose parents make a better living. Furthermore, the illness is often of a more serious nature such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a new report from the committee, they point out that while people may think too many children receive SSI, there are many eligible families who do not apply for it. SSI could provide families with the financial support they need to obtain proper care for the child, including the access to Medicaid. Through these benefits, children would have a higher chance of overcoming their mental health problems.

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits for illness is a complicated process and requires a great deal of documentation. One missed line on the application form or failure to submit all of the supporting evidence could lead to a denial of the application and a longer delay in receiving benefits. Therefore, people in Laurel should consider seeking the assistance of an experienced Social Security lawyer.

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