It is possible to get Social Security benefits for your ADHD child. Read my experience plus helpful tips about applying and links.
My Two Cents on Social Security
Several years ago, I applied for Social Security benefits for my son James who has ADHD. I did this for several reasons. The first was because of his medical condition and the second was for the medical benefits. Being disabled myself left me with no other medical coverage for my son other than the states med-i-cal program which was hit very hard in the mental health services for children shortly after James was diagnosed.
On top of already scarce mental health clinics with large and long waiting lists, children's mental health services took huge budget cuts. This left help for children such as James at a minimum and only children who were in danger of being removed from their homes and placed into foster care or children who had crossed the boundaries into the Judicial system were given access to mental health services. Having social security benefits did several things for my son.
1). It opened the doors to doctors that before would not see him because he was on the state med-i-cal program, and two. Secondly, it allowed a cash benefit to obtain services that were not covered by giving us the extra cash we needed to pay for those services. It also allowed me to put James into programs that helped him tremendously with self esteem and social issues that we could not otherwise afford.
Social Security Benefits for Children with ADHD
I had a reader write to me and ask me for my best advice on applying for social security benefits for children with disabilities, so I thought that I would share what I learned with all my readers. At the time I applied for SSI for my son, I felt, as did his doctors, that James had a severe case of ADHD. It was explained to me that I should apply for social security in order to get the medical benefits that would allow me to obtain treatment for James and that due to the severity of the James' condition at the time, his doctors felt that there would be no problem getting him approved. Needless to say, I was surprised when James was denied SSI and also a bit angry when I had knowledge of other children, not nearly as affected by ADHD, as James that had been approved. This didn't make sense to me and hinted that there must be other factors involved when approving someone for social security other than medical fact. So I appealed the decision and started making phone calls and you'd be surprised what I learned.
One roadblock I ran into was the school district. Not only did they provide only minimal information during the first SSI inquiry, but they refused to even fill out the information for the appeal. The school psychologist and the teacher decided not to comply with the new request for information citing that paperwork had been done once before and that they were busy and couldn't stop what they were doing to fill out more paperwork. I felt this attitude was not only typical of the school district, but I was outraged at their audacity! How dare they take it upon themselves to assume that my son didn't need the benefits which SSI could provide for him which is how I interpreted their actions and attitude.
I started making phone calls after my son was denied and I learned that each worker is assigned X number of cases and they have X number of days once that case hits their desk to process it and move it off of their desk by either denying the case or approving it. Part of their evaluation for job performance is based on how effectively and timely cases pass through their hands. I found out that the worker who initially had my case denied it the day before he went on vacation. I concluded that the decision on my son's case was influenced by a worker, who in an attempt to clear their calendar before leaving on vacation, hurriedly and careless passed judgments on my son's disability in order to maintain their performance record.
The individuals and agencies that they contact in order to gain information on your child are not bound by any laws or regulations to comply with Social Security. If they send the information in by the time the file has to be processed or moved on that's fine. If not, the decision is made without the information. The next thing I learned was that the worker who was in charge of my son's appeal, had some education in psychology and felt that ADD/ADHD was not a disorder but basically a parental problem and issue of environment. These children don't have a disorder, they suffer from bad parenting and parents who have no desire to parent their children in a fashion that commands discipline or forces them to function. She went on to tell me that if these parents would simply spank these children and enforce penalties for bad behavior, these children would straighten up!