US Government Information/SSI


QUESTION: Hello, my son is 24 years old. He has a number of health problems (panic disorder, anxiety disorder, blood disorder) and he never worked. He lives with us. Would he be eligible for SSI? Is there anything we need to know before applying? Should we try to fill out the application ourselves or it's better to find somebody who can help us?  Thank you!

ANSWER: I would suggest that you file without professional help for the initial filing. To qualify for SSI a person must have limited income. Resources must be less than $2,000. Below is information about anxiety disorders and what should typically be present for approval.

12.06 Anxiety-related disorders: In these disorders anxiety is either the predominant disturbance or it is experienced if the individual attempts to master symptoms; for example, confronting the dreaded object or situation in a phobic disorder or resisting the obsessions or compulsions in obsessive compulsive disorders.

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied, or when the requirements in both A and C are satisfied.

A. Medically documented findings of at least one of the following:

1. Generalized persistent anxiety accompanied by three out of four of the following signs or symptoms:

a. Motor tension; or

b. Autonomic hyperactivity; or

c. Apprehensive expectation; or

d. Vigilance and scanning; or

2. A persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation which results in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation; or

3. Recurrent severe panic attacks manifested by a sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear, terror and sense of impending doom occurring on the average of at least once a week; or

4. Recurrent obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress; or

5. Recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, which are a source of marked distress;


B. Resulting in at least two of the following:

1. Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or

2. Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or

3. Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or

4. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.


C. Resulting in complete inability to function independently outside the area of one's home.

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QUESTION: Thank you very much! It's very helpful. My son doesn't have income as he cannot work, and we pay all his expenses both living and medical. Would our income and the fact that we cover his expenses be considered as his resources? Thanks again!

ANSWER: They will not count your income or resources because he is over age 18. They will reduce the SSI monthly payment of about $720 by one-third because he lives in your household and does not have money for his share of expenses. Some states offer an additional state supplement and with SSI comes state medical assistance.

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QUESTION: We really appreciate your help! Thank you. I've started filling out the form for my son. The form is asking for the date when the disability started. My son started having severe symptoms when he was 12-13 back in 2003 and that's when we first took him to the doctors. His symptoms got worse as he got older, but somehow he graduated school and got a degree in "art" even though he was hardly managing even the easiest classes. Over two years ago he completely stopped being able to leave the house. What would be the correct date (2003 or 2011) for when the disability started in his case?  

Also I've kept a list of the doctors and hospitals where he was diagnosed and treated since 2003 but I might not have the phone, address, patient ID and exact dates for every doctor and every clinic. Would the name of the doctor and the year be enough information for us provide?

Thanks again!

Because SSI does not pay for months before the first full month of filing, they normally do not develop for a date of onset to disability before the month of filing.  However, the problem with that is if they establish his disability onset as of April 2014, the disability will not show that it began before age 22.  This could prevent him from receiving benefits as a disabled adult child on the record of a parent after the parent begins receiving benefits.  Generally, a 50% chid benefit is greater than the SSI benefit and a higher benefit could be helpful after you can no longer help him financially or if his SSI would stop due to an inheritance.  A childhood disability benefit from the record of a parent would not stop due to other income or resources.  If his record does not show that he became disabled before age 22, at the time you or your wife file, a Social Security representative will not realize that his condition at an earlier age was not looked at.

I think it is important that they at least establish that his disability began before age 22 and for this reason I would give information back to early childhood.  As long as you can provide the doctors name, address and phone number, you can give just years for dates of visits.  Do not worry about patient #s.  

If you have any medical records in your possession or any school records of his disabling condition, it would be a good idea to submit that information, but make sure you keep copies.

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Darlene Oldendick


Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.


Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years


33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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