Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon and welcome to our broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me attorney Brooke Thomas of Gardberg and Kemmerly. Brooke, how are you doing?

Brooke Thomas:  I’m good. How are you, Cindy?

Cindy Speaker:  Good. Nice to have you today.

Brooke Thomas:  Thank you.

Cindy Speaker: Well Brooke we’re going to talk today about children’s disability claims and I know that Gardberg and Kemmerly you handle a lot of these claims. So let’s go ahead and jump into this. My first question is can I file for disability benefits for my disabled child?

Brooke Thomas: Absolutely, Cindy. A lot of folks don’t know that but children who are disabled can actually get SSI or supplemental security income. Their parents have to meet a certain income requirement and of course there’s a whole special set of rules for children who are disabled. But if both of those qualifications are met, a child can draw SSI just like an adult can.

Cindy Speaker: Okay and expand a little bit on the types of benefits that they can receive.

Brooke Thomas:  All right, the types of benefits that a child can receive are supplemental security income. That’s gonna be benefits based on what their parents income and assets are. It would be up to $750 a month and of course that also comes with Medicaid insurance. A lot of children already receive Medicaid but it does come with insurance benefits as well.

Cindy Speaker: Okay. And do they have to have certain types of disabilities? What disabilities qualify for these types of benefits?

Brooke Thomas: Just like an adult there’s a wide variety of things that children can have that can qualify them for benefits. There could be certain learning disabilities, intellectual disorders, physical disorders can run from type one diabetes in a child or orthopedic complaints. So really anything that maybe gives them some limitations, particularly in school or being able to get out and about and play like any other child, those would be potential disabilities that could qualify them for social security.

Cindy Speaker: Okay. And what about what type of evidence do you need to produce in order to qualify?

Brooke Thomas:  The biggest thing is one medical records. So that’s where you’ve taken your child to the doctor, maybe they’re in therapy or maybe they’re seeing a specialist. And the second thing is actually school records if you have a school aged child. A lot of times schools will have particular evidence that maybe that child can’t participate in PE or they have to take a medication at school. And a lot of times if the child has a behavior issue at school, the school reports that. You get notes home from the teacher, unfortunately sometimes those children get written up in their suspension records. Anything that’s a struggle that a child may have at school is usually documented and we want to get that as well.

Cindy Speaker:  Okay. Okay. And what about when the child turns 18? Do the benefits get cut off?

Brooke Thomas: A lot of times they will get cut off. Almost always there will be an age 18 redetermination because once a child turns 18, they then have to meet the qualifications as an adult and the standards are completely different. Now in some situations, if it’s a lifelong disability they will do that redetermination and determine that the child can’t work and should still receive benefits. Sometimes they’ll do that redetermination, they’ll cut those benefits off and then that becomes a cessation. And then the parent has to decide and the child together is that something we should appeal or are we going to try to go through rehab or try a different path? But at 18 they will do a redetermination and do a reevaluation.

Cindy Speaker:  Okay. And let’s suppose, if they do qualify to continue benefits, is it a seamless transfer from one system to the other or are their benefits interrupted?

Brooke Thomas:  The benefits should not be interrupted while they’re doing the redetermination. If they determine that the child should continue to receive supplemental security income or SSI, it should continue without disruption. The only thing that may change is that once you turn 18 they don’t have to necessarily look at your parents income. So the only thing that change is what they are looking at in terms of assets and resources for determining the monthly amount but the benefits should not stop. Now if they determine to stop the benefits and you have a cessation there, usually if you appeal it within 10 days they’ll continue to receive benefits while they’re filing their appeal.

Cindy Speaker: Okay. And Brooke how do you get involved as an attorney? What role do you play in these types of claims?

Brooke Thomas:  Usually we get involved either after the application has been filed and then denied, folks will come in and we’ll be in the process for filing the appeal for them and then actually gathering the evidence. You know, we can send a request to a doctor to send us the records. If it’s a cessation we usually come in when social security has said that the benefits are going to stop and folks will come in and need assistance in that appeal as well.

Cindy Speaker:  Okay. Very good. And if someone asks questions and they’d like to reach out to you, what’s the best way to do that?

Brooke Thomas: You can reach us through our website, there’s a very easy thing that you can click to reach us by email. You can reach us by telephone at 251-343-1111. And someone will get back in touch with you as soon as possible and get your information and we can go from there.

Cindy Speaker: All right, good. Brooke, thanks for being with us today.

Brooke Thomas: Thanks for having me, Cindy.

Cindy Speaker: For those of you watching either live or by replay, if you have questions or comments you can leave them right on this page and we’ll get back to you. Thanks everybody. Have a great day.