Child Diagnosed With Bipolar? What You Need to Know About SSI & Medicaid

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If your child has been diagnosed with bipolar, there's no doubt your worries are numerous. Not only do you have to be concerned about keeping your child safe, you have to worry about your finances. It can be difficult to continue bringing in an income when your main concern is your child. Fortunately, there is help available. Bipolar is a disorder that is labeled as a disability by the Social Security Administration. Here's what you need to know.

Bipolar as a Disability

In order for bipolar to be considered a disability, both manic and depressive syndromes of the disorder need to be present and there has to be a history of episodes. The symptoms also need to seriously limit your child's activities and leave them unable to perform regular tasks on a continual basis. For example, a bipolar child may be unable to attend school regularly or participate in a sport through an entire season.

Even though children aren't old enough to work, these limitations affect the parents' ability to maintain an income, which is why the Social Security Administration provides relief in the form of disability payments for low income families. Cycling through the manic and depressive states of bipolar disorder can disrupt normal day-to-day life, especially when it comes to the ability to leave home for employment. For example, your child may become severely depressed and suicidal, at which point you would need to call in sick from work.

Medical Documentation

In order for your child's mental health to be determined as a disability, you will need to provide proof. This can be done with medical documentation from the various mental health professionals your child has been seen by. It's a good idea to speak with your child's mental health team to ask them to produce a packet of documentation for you to give to the Social Security Administration when you file for disability on behalf of your child.

Again, it's important to show the persistence of the disorder and how long your child has been dealing with the symptoms in order for the disability to be approved. Therefore, it's a good idea to ask the mental health professionals as well as your child's pediatrician to delve into your child's medical history to see if there were any possible missed symptoms before the final diagnosis. For example, you may have discussed your child's crying outbursts at a younger age, which may have been missed as a possible attribute to the final diagnosis.

Supplemental Security Income

There are several types of disability payments that are available to those who are disabled. However, SSI (supplemental security income) is the only type of disability payment available to families with children who have disabilities. Also, this payment is needs-based. What this means is that only those who have low income or minimal assets qualify.

Your earned and unearned income is used to determine whether or not your child qualifies for SSI. Earned income is income from employment. Unearned income is income from investments or unemployment payments. Allocations are also considered, which are adjustments made to the income based on living expenses of any other children and the parents who live in the household with the disabled child.

Children with mental health disabilities may also qualify for Medicaid, depending on the state. Medicaid covers the costs that are not paid for by the regular health insurance, such as copays and deductibles. Typically, Medicaid is applied for during the application process for SSI.

Speak with a social security disability lawyer, such as Todd East Attorney at Law, for more information. Don't feel as if you are using your child's disability as a way to benefit financially. The program was designed to help families in your situation.